Winners and Losers of 2012: Losers

After a few days of reflection, here is our list of losers from the 2012 election cycle in Colorado. Find our list of winners here.

1. Mitt Romney and Colorado Advisors

Mitt Romney’s campaign efforts in Colorado never made much sense to us. Romney spent far too long early in the campaign visiting traditionally beet-red, but more importantly under-populated areas of the state, allowing the battle for suburban votes to shift toward President Barack Obama. Some 85% of Colorado voters live along the Front Range between Ft. Collins and Pueblo, which we would think is fairly common knowledge at this point. At one point at the end of the summer, Romney had gone more than 30 days between visits to our state.

Later, Romney made a disastrous mistake by declaring himself opposed to the wind power production tax credit, which is tied to thousands of manufacturing jobs in Colorado–even though almost all Republicans in the state supported it. By the time Romney began to “Etch-a-Sketch” himself into a moderate candidate for the general election, he had already radicalized himself in the eyes of too many Colorado voters. Once that was done, his attempts to walk back from the hard-right positions he took in the primary looked disingenuous and fed distrust.

But above all, Republican supporters of Romney in Colorado disastrously internalized their own spin, and convinced themselves that polls showing Obama steadily regaining, then holding his lead in Colorado from mid-October onward were “skewed.” This false sense of security, combined with the Obama campaign’s world-beating field campaign, yanked the rug out from under Romney’s feet in a state that consistently ranked as one of the most competitive.

2. Frank McNulty

Outgoing Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty will go down in history as one of the most divisive, Machiavellian, and ultimately self-destructive leaders in the history of the state. Taking a one-seat majority in 2010 by the barest of electoral margins, McNulty acted as if this was a mandate for the “Tea Party.” Abusing and manipulating legislative rules to an extent nobody we know can remember a match for, McNulty ruthlessly carried out a partisan, obstructionist game plan in the House against the Democratic Senate and Governor’s office.

But McNulty’s arrogance was his own undoing. McNulty lost control of the legislative reapportionment process through his own bad faith, resulting in maps that dramatically reduced the number of “safe” seats for either party. Then McNulty turned the 2012 legislative session into a nationwide controversy when he shut down debate just before civil unions legislation would have passed his chamber with bipartisan support.

As a result, outside money poured into key legislative races, and Democrats used the story of the shutdown of the legislature against Republican House candidates all over the state. Today, not even a candidate for GOP House minority leadership, the implosion of Frank McNulty’s political career is pretty much complete.

3. Angry, Knee-Jerk Politics

Republicans were given yet another bruising lesson in the folly of embracing extreme and controversial stands on wedge issues in a moderate swing state. One of the best examples of this was the response by Republicans in the Colorado State Senate to the battle over birth control coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). First, Sen. Greg Brophy willingly inserted himself into that debate by crudely insulting Sandra Fluke in defense of radio shock-jock Rush Limbaugh. Later, Senate Republicans held a rally on the steps of the Capitol likening birth control coverage to Nazis, genocide, and even King Henry VIII.

Despite problems with the mainstream media failing to cover these antics, advocacy groups and others, working with the Obama campaign with essentially the same message, were able to demonstrate a “War on Women” continuum between the national issue of women’s reproductive health and local Republican politicians. This amplified and localized the damage done via national stories like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock–and hurt the GOP brand all the way up and down the ticket.

4. Joe Coors, Jr.

Colorado Pols broke the news last December that Joe Coors, Jr. was going to challenge Democrat Ed Perlmutter in CD-7, and we were as confused then as we are now. Why would an independently wealthy guy enjoying retirement want to run for a job where, if successful, he would be a 70-year-old freshman Congressman? It’s one thing to run for the U.S. Senate, as brother Pete Coors did in 2004, because the prize is so much bigger and you don’t have to run for re-election every two years. It’s another thing entirely to run for the House against an incumbent who absolutely destroyed his Republican challenger in 2010 in what was then a Republican wave.

Even die-hard Republicans admitted that Coors didn’t have much of a chance against Perlmutter, but that didn’t stop him from spending millions of dollars of his own money just to get punched in the face by past skeletons. The money, perhaps, isn’t as important to Coors. But the damage to his reputation is permanent. This time last year, how many friends and neighbors knew that Joe had once predicted that the world would end in 2000? How many knew that he listed “Biblical Prophecy” as a hobby on his resume? How many knew that he had lost tens of millions of dollars because he fell for a scam that promised a 75% return on investment each week? There were a lot of Colorado candidates who came out on the losing end on Election Day, but few, if any, lost more than Joe Coors, Jr.

5. Joe Miklosi

Democrats celebrated in the wake of the congressional redistricting process last year, after major changes to congressional maps created at least one major new opportunity for Democrats, while leaving other districts as prime competitive seats up for grabs by good candidates in either party. The new lines for CD-6 were so competitive on paper that both politicos and the press named it as one of the most likely districts to change hands in the country.

But then the actual campaigning began.

State Rep. Joe Miklosi did a good job of coalescing Democrats early and preventing a serious primary challenge, but it quickly became clear that Miklosi was not prepared for a Congressional campaign. His first fundraising numbers were anemic, which is usually a flashing-red light warning; if you can’t put up good numbers with all of the low-hanging fruit in your rolodex, that’s a pretty good indicator of things to come. Fellow Democrats Brandon Shaffer and Sal Pace faced registration numbers far less favorable than CD-6, yet both consistently raised serious money. At the same time, incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman was pulling in big bucks every quarter and putting tremendous distance between himself and Miklosi.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did its best to try to prop up Miklosi, and Coffman did everything he could to give his seat away. Coffman’s now-infamous “not an American” insult against Obama shook even many of his Republican supporters, and left them questioning whether he could hold on in a race to the center. As it turned out, he didn’t need to worry.

It was telling that Miklosi kept the same slogan (“Not Your Average Joe!”) for his CD-6 race that he had used successfully to win a Democratic primary in his State House seat four years earlier. Miklosi and his top staffers made odd errors and took a long time trying to find a message; in the first story about his campaign in the Denver Post, Miklosi named in-state tuition for illegal immigrants as a top priority, which is an odd thing to try to push in your first story as a likely candidate. By the end of this summer, he seemed to have settled on calling out Coffman for “Rush Limbaugh-style politics,” which really only makes sense to a partisan audience.

But Miklosi’s biggest error was perhaps the most inexcusable. Miklosi couldn’t win this race first and foremost because voters didn’t know who he was…and the campaign knew that. Nevertheless, Miklosi’s campaign spent 90% of its time attacking Coffman and did very little to increase his name ID, even though polling and common sense (this was essentially a new district, with voters unfamiliar with either candidate) dictated otherwise.

While fellow Democrats Shaffer and Pace were also unable to knock out a Republican incumbent, Miklosi’s loss was different. This was a race that a Democrat should have won in 2012.  

6. Mike Coffman

Sure, Coffman won re-election despite running in a district that did not favor his right-wing conservatism, but he lost plenty along the way. With so many Republican losses in recent years, Coffman was the most experienced and well-known GOP elected official in Colorado. But he may have gone as far as he can go politically because of this election cycle.

Coffman hasn’t been shy about wanting to run for U.S. Senate in 2014 against incumbent Democrat Mark Udall, but he may have lost that opportunity with so many self-inflicted wounds in the last 18 months. Whether it was jumping on as the Colorado Chair for the Presidential campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry (oops), or sad attempts to dodge a local TV reporter after his claim that President Obama is “not an American” (d’oh), Coffman showed Republican big-wigs and donors that he is too risky of a candidate to support for higher office anytime soon. Coffman was hoping he could ride to an easy re-election in 2012 and take that momentum into a clear GOP nomination as the challenger to Udall. Now? Coffman probably runs for re-election instead, and there’s a very real chance that he’ll lose.

7. Republican donors

A large investment by Republicans into the Colorado House and Senate GOP independent efforts produced perhaps the smallest return on investment since 2004, failing to hold the House as well as failing to increase their Senate delegation. This is important particularly as long-term GOP strategy in the Senate depended on picking up a few seats this year, and more in 2014. Today they’re well behind the pace.

As was the case in 2010, a significant amount of the problem can be traced to a failure by Republicans to properly vet their candidates. We were dumbfounded by the size of some of the skeletons that GOP candidates such as John Enstrom and Brian Watson had in their closets; particularly since in both cases it seemed like Republicans were caught off guard by the allegations. Sometimes things fall through the cracks and problems turn up unexpectedly, but in the case of Enstrom and Watson, a fresh-faced intern could have found these problems in a few hours.

It’s totally unacceptable to miss these kinds of problems early, but it’s even worse to lead with your chin. When McNulty was touting Watson as the GOP’s new “rising star,” he was setting them both up for catastrophic falls.

8. Gov. John Hickenlooper

Gov. John Hickenlooper, elected in 2010 as a Democrat, has proven quite frustrating to base Colorado Democrats–frequently siding with, or at least making big concessions to Republicans, just plain idiotic statements about drinking fracking fluid, and pushing the privatization of state-chartered Pinnacol Assurance over the objections of just about everybody.

It was much easier for Hickenlooper to straddle this fence with a divided legislature. Hickenlooper’s “post-partisanship” has a kind of shallow media appeal, but we don’t think it has been tested in a way that qualifies him for the higher office for which he is widely rumored to have an interest. Hickenlooper’s “bringing people together” approached worked as Denver Mayor (as it should, in a political structure giving the Mayor significant power), and he has tried to keep it up as Governor. But for the first time in his political career, Hick is a Democrat with a fully Democratic controlled General Assembly. He won’t have Republicans to blame for legislation he tries to kill or veto. Hick and his staff are going to have to really be on their toes dealing with legislation during the session, because he’ll have no excuse for vetoing a Democratic bill once it lands on his desk.

9. Eric Sondermann and Floyd Ciruli

Two fixtures in the political pundit circuit in Colorado, consultants Eric Sondermann and Floyd Ciruli, made major mistakes this year in predictions and commentary that hurt their credibility. Ciruli, a former chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party, made a fool of himself for claiming this year that “Democrats had $4 million to Republicans’ $30,000 in 2010, helping stop the Republican national tide in Colorado.”

Ciruli was referring to a widely-discredited story by Karen Crummy of the Denver paper, which claimed that Democrats “outraised Republicans 150-to-1″ in 2010. In truth, Crummy was only counting so-called independent expenditure committees, generally ignoring 527s, 501(c)4 groups, and so many others who most certainly spend money on elections…without disclosure. Crummy at least briefly noted that there was other kinds of money in play, but Ciruli didn’t even manage that. For someone who represents himself as an expert, claiming that Democrats had this kind of cash advantage in 2010 is nothing short of ludicrous.

Consultant Eric Sondermann likewise made predictions about this year’s elections that were not only wrong, but revealed a significant lack of understanding of the situation on the ground. Two years ago, Sondermann predicted there was no way Michael Bennet could win based on Bennet’s standing with men, only to watch as Bennet’s 17-point advantage with women propelled him to victory.

Last month, on the very same day that Obama regained a national advantage in polling, Sondermann predicted that Mitt Romney’s “momentum” would carry him to a win. In both of these predictions on the top of the ticket in both elections, Sondermann summoned up all his mad pundit skills–and picked the loser. Now Sondermann told Jason Salzman afterward that he was pressured to make a call when we believed it was a “tossup.” We’d say you should always make the call you believe is true. Even the most partisan of politicos was at least suspicious that Romney had real momentum.

In both cases, we think it’s time reporters broaden their pool of talking heads.

The Fall of the GOP: Silence is Stupid

(Another take on the topic of the day. – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

I recently posted this tweet on Twitter: “Memo to 2014 Dem candidates: Ask your GOP opponent his/her opinion on rape and forced birth. Your win will be assured.” It was retweeted quite a few times. And I honestly think it is a great idea. Look what happened to Akin, Mourdock, and Roger “some girls rape so easy” Rivard.

There is a recurring theme among the GOP, from Ann Coulter to Jane Norton and, most recently, Mario Nicolais (in a Lynn Bartels article) that “nobody wants to talk about social issues. They’re not important. The economy is important.” This election proved them wrong. More than 7 million women voted than in 2008. This was due in a large part to Planned Parenthood’s “Women Are Watching” campaign, and organizations such as Emily’s List. And, especially, an incumbent President who supported both reproductive freedom and equal pay for women.  

The GOP’s harsh party platform and the unprecedented amount of anti-women legislation both proposed and passed in 2011 and 2012 was unacceptable to many, many people. The GOP simply refuses to admit that reproductive freedom IS a “pocketbook issue.” Deciding when, if, and how many children to have is an economic issue. To pretend otherwise is foolish beyond belief. And yet the GOP persists in trying to restrict abortion and contraceptive access.

For young women in particular, an unplanned pregnancy can derail, or even end, educational and career plans. Young women need to decide what is right for them. Some old dinosaur of a legislator has no right to force HIS decision upon her. The GOP just doesn’t GET that.

Married women, too, like to plan their families. The GOP has NO business interfering with the relationships between doctors and patients, or with employers and employees regarding contraceptive coverage. Who really cares about their employer’s “moral conscience”? Not I. And if it would interfere with my personal family planning decisions, I would be nothing short of outraged.

So the GOP “doesn’t like to talk about these things”? Maybe it’s time to examine why, and admit that these policies, created to pander to a small but noisy extremist fringe, have failed. The GOP needs to understand that the US is not, never will be, and was never intended to be a “Christian Nation.” There is much more diversity. The views of the Christian Right have no place in politics. Separation of Church and State, remember?

The GOP can hardly expect to continue sneakily trying to pass garbage, like Chris Holbert’s insane attempt to attach an anti-abortion measure to the bi-partisan budget, and not get soundly smacked for it. Women ARE watching, and we DID “Remember in November.” So did the men who love and respect us. And we will again, in 2014 and 2016, until the anti-choice dinosaurs are gone.

And good luck pandering to Latinos and LGBT people. I was utterly revolted by Frank McNulty’s shenanigans over civil unions last year, and am beyond thrilled that Mark Ferrandino is the new Speaker. He will be excellent :) The Latino vote pushed Colorado blue :) Why? The harsh GOP rhetoric. In closing, I leave you with this:…

A list of the best political journalism in Colorado so far this election cycle

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Compared to the 2010 election in Colorado, this one has been mostly a snoozer, journalistically.

But the 2010 election wasn’t really an election. It was a dramatic comedy show, with so many stories to tell and scandals to uncover that journalists almost couldn’t help but be stars.

Still, reporters have turned out some excellent work this time around, and I’ve listed my favorite reporting below.  I’m hoping to see more great work in the next few weeks, but this list is inspiring…

9News Kyle Clark: “Coffman won’t explain Obama ‘not an American’ comments” Rather than let Coffman hide, Clark went out and found him.

Fox 31′s Eli Stokols:FOX31 Denver goes one-on-one with Paul Ryan” Stokols shows how an informed journalist can challenge a candidate’s spin.

The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels and Tim Hoover: “Anarchy, chaos behind Colorado civil unions bill may have long-lasting effects” They dug deep to show, among other things, how the upcoming election influenced the legislative debate on civil unions.

The Denver Post’s Tim Hoover: “Noncitizen ID’d fraction of those first alleged by Gessler” No matter where you sit on the political spectrum, to understand Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s behavior and priorities, you have to understand the blizzard of numbers Gessler tosses around. Hoover did a great job clarifying Gessler’s figures in this piece.

Associated Press’ Ivan Moreno: “Voter Purges Turn Up Little Evidence Of Fraud Despite Republican Insistence” Like Hoover, Moreno gets to the heart of the voter “fraud” issue by looking at the details.

Fox 31′s Eli Stokols: “Colo. girl registering ‘only Romney’ voters tied to firm dumped by RNC over fraud” Stokols quickly connected the dots from Colorado to a scandal that was developing nationally.

CBS4′s Shaun Boyd: “Romney Loses Cool When Questioned About Marijuana, Gay Marriage” Boyd keeps her cool and sticks to her questions even as Romney flips out.

KBNO radio host Fernando Sergio’s interview with President Obama, which makes the list because Sergio almost certainly got the first interview with a sitting president on Spanish language radio in Colorado.

Colorado Statesman’s Judy Hope Strogoff: “Perry campaigns with friends in Colorado” I love this scoop, with the photos. An illuminating piece showing political poobahs in a different setting.

The Denver Post’s John Ingold: “GOP’s VP candidate, Paul Ryan, emphasizes contrast with Obama’s vision” I like how Ingold gets at the candidate’s underlying view of government, as he reports on a campaign stop.

Local TV news fact checkers Shaun Boyd (CBS4), Matt Flener (9News), Brandon Rittiman (9News), and (sometimes) Marshall Zellinger (7News). I don’t always agree with them, but what they do is really important, especially on local TV.

$100,000 Radio Ad Buy Thwacks Colorado House GOP

Can’t see the audio player? Click here.

It’s been playing heavily on local radio for a few days now, but we didn’t want this significant radio ad buy to escape mention. FOX 31′s Eli Stokols reported last week:

“Earlier this year Republican leadership recklessly shut down the legislature and stopped working, refusing even to debate more than 30 important bills,” the ad’s voice-over says. “Including measures that would have lowered taxes on small businesses, would have improved public safety, and would have invested in water projects critical to Colorado farmers and Colorado jobs. Why did the Republicans quit on Colorado?”

…Of course, it’s not McNulty these groups are going after – it’s his one seat GOP majority that’s on the line this November.

Paid for by the Campaign for a Strong Colorado (a group some of you will remember from the 2010 U.S. Senate race and more recent pushback against Scott Gessler), this ad campaign takes a whack at Republican Colorado House leadership–and by extension the whole caucus–for “shutting down the legislature” at the end of this year’s legislative session.

This ad is interesting in that, although it concerns the shutdown of the legislature last session over the civil unions bill, it doesn’t actually mention civil unions–being more focused on the other legislation that Republicans jeopardized in their zeal to kill civil unions before it could receive majority support in a GOP-held chamber. Republicans are singling out this “omission” in their defense, but the fact is, civil unions is supported by a lopsided majority of the public, and was supported by a majority in the GOP-controlled House when it was killed.

In fact, we’d suggest more people know the civil unions part of this story than all the other parts. The noncontroversial legislation killed by the GOP in the battle over civil unions absolutely should evoke broader anger than simply killing civil unions, with or without the overwhelming public support–or at least push voters to evaluate the choices made by GOP leadership last May.

One thing’s certain, this is not the framing of the debate that Frank McNulty would prefer.

Coram vs. Coram in HD-58?

This fascinating possibility comes to us via the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby:

Democrats are trying to recruit the gay son of a Republican lawmaker who was a swing vote against a civil unions bill to challenge his father in his re-election bid this fall.

The son, 45-year-old Dee Coram, made international news in May when his father, state Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, cast the swing vote in a Colorado House committee against creating civil unions for gay and lesbian couples…

Dee Coram, who operates a coffee shop in Montrose, later spoke to several national media outlets about the controversial issue, saying he was disappointed in his father’s vote.

Now, Democrats in the heavily Republican House District 58, which stretches from Montrose County to the Four Corners, are trying to talk Dee Coram into replacing its nominated candidate, Gregory Thornton, who chose late last month to drop out after he decided to take a job in Aurora.

“It would be an interesting race if Dee Coram were to jump in,” Montrose County Democratic Party Chairwoman Jayne Bilberry said…

The first thing we would remind readers of is Rep. Don Coram and his son Dee Coram, by all accounts, have a good relationship that wasn’t endangered by the younger Coram’s criticism of the elder Coram’s vote last spring against the civil unions bill. We’ve heard nothing to suggest that’s changed. As heated as the debate over this issue often becomes, that’s pretty cool.

House District 58 leans heavily Republican, so any challenger to Rep. Coram faces an uphill battle. Certainly a father-vs.-son election battle over a hot issue would raise the profile of what might otherwise be an uninteresting race, but despite the news camera appeal of such a race, we can’t say with confidence either way how the actual voters of HD-58 would receive this. We think the answer to that question would depend heavily on the tenor of the campaign.

If they can keep it amicable, it could be a lot of fun to watch whatever the outcome.

Conspiracy Theory, Colorado House Republican Style

Statesman columnist and former Colorado legislator Miller Hudson writes about the recent would-be “Star Chamber” proceeding orchestrated by Republicans on the Joint Budget Committee and GOP House leadership to hector Metro State University about their decision to create an affordable category of tuition for undocumented students from Colorado.

For the second time in less than a month, a Republican legislator has expressed their suspicion that Colorado’s leaders are actively colluding with the White House for the express purpose of embarrassing them. It’s enough to make you break out your copy of Richard Hofstader’s famous 1963 essay, The Paranoid Style of American Politics…

This past week Joint Budget Committee Chairwoman Cheri Gerou scheduled a hearing in the old Supreme Court Chambers at the Capitol for the purpose of grilling Metro State President Steve Jordan regarding the decision by his governing board to offer a preferential tuition rate to immigrant students who would be eligible for participation in the federal Dream Act or its Colorado equivalent, the ASSET bill, if either were ever to be approved. She and several of her GOP colleagues were anxious to flog both Metro and Jordan for their audacious usurpation of legislative authority. This Star Chamber proceeding was justified under the guise of a flimsy concern that this policy might negatively affect state budget outlays.

Gerou is a legislator whose self regard visibly swells behind a microphone. She launched her explanation of the hearing’s objective with a snarky remark about Jordan’s recent trip to Washington, D.C., by observing, “…I understand you visited with the President at the White House on Monday?” Jordan promptly corrected her by pointing out that the President was in Los Cabos attending the G-20 meeting, [Pols emphasis] although he gave as good as he got by adding that he would have been delighted to have participated in such a meeting. Gerou was clearly knocked off balance, and stumbled ahead with a lame attempt to link Obama’s announcement the previous Friday that the Department of Homeland Security (INS) would no longer enforce the deportation of students who met the Dream Act criteria with Metro’s decision. It was obvious Gerou could not accept the possibility that Jordan’s visit to Washington was merely a coincidence.

As Miller points out, the same far-fetched conspiracy theorizing prevailed when Speaker Frank McNulty accused Gov. John Hickenlooper of coordinating his call for a special session to deal with civil unions with Barack Obama’s campaign–as if Hickenlooper or Obama could have known that McNulty was going to short-circuit a majority in his own chamber to prevent civil unions from coming up for a vote. In Metro President Stephen Jordan’s case, the “visit to the White House” he was accused of could be debunked by reading the national news.

The first rule of conspiracy theories is they shouldn’t be this debunkable. Next time, Republicans, try space aliens! Nobody can ever disprove aliens appearing out of nowhere on a dark highway to coordinate the nefarious plans of Democrats, with everyone’s favorite icon of alien “coordination,” the anal probe. Bigfoot might work in a pinch, but aliens would naturally be smarter than Bigfoot, more capable of nefariousness–like George Soros himself.

Try it at home, it’s fun!

In Case You Missed It: “Fight Back Colorado”

FOX 31′s Eli Stokols reported on this last week, and we wanted to ensure it’s noted:

If you thought civil unions had an outsized impact on a few of Tuesday’s statehouse primaries, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

On Wednesday, liberal activists and donors announced the launch of a new group that will work specifically to target state lawmakers who opposed and twice helped kill civil unions legislation in May.

In short, Tim Gill, the gay millionaire responsible for bankrolling much of Colorado’s infrastructure of progressive political action groups, isn’t wasting time, helping fund the new group Fight Back Colorado, modeled on Fight Back New York, the political action committee that spent $800,000 and successfully removed anti-gay marriage incumbents from office, paving the way for the bill’s passage by the New York state legislature last year.

“I’m no meteorologist but it’s going to be raining rainbow money in Colorado,” one pro-civil unions activist told FOX31 Denver Wednesday. [Pols emphasis]

We discussed wealthy pro-LGBT philanthropist Tim Gill’s personal interest in the passage of civil unions legislation this year, evidenced in part by his sitting in on hearings on the legislation. It was widely speculated after the bill’s failure that Gill would invest heavily to ensure Republicans who subverted the will of their own chamber’s majority pay a price in November.

This would then be the vehicle for making them pay.

Colorado Democrats Delighted By GOP Primary Results

A quick tour of coverage of yesterday’s primary elections, starting with the Fort Collins Coloradoan’s Patrick Malone, and the loss of the CD-2 primary by moderate Eric Weissmann to iconic “Tea Party” favorite state Sen. Kevin Lundberg–a loss despite overt support for Weissmann from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

Weissmann trumpets a libertarian perspective that favored civil unions and abortion rights, while Lundberg adheres to more traditional, socially conservative ideals as an outspoken defender of traditional marriage between a man and a woman and opponent of legal abortion…

Lundberg’s victory and a handful of Republican primaries for seats in the state legislature that could be interpreted as an indication of where Colorado’s GOP voters stand sent a resounding message in favor of traditional conservative ideals. [Pols emphasis]

You can find evidence for a hard lurch to the right in Republican primary results around the state. In SD-23, the race to replace Sen. Shawn Mitchell was won by a distinctly fringy candidate named Vicki Marble, known by some locals as the “New Dan Maes–over an arguably much more experienced and qualified public servant, Rep. Glenn Vaad. In HD-19, Amy Stephens crushed an upstart bid from fellow Rep. Marsha Looper, reaffirming her conservative credentials by helping kill civil unions legislation again this year. After becoming vulnerable in the wake of her support for the health care exchange bill in 2011, Stephens bet her political career on stopping civil unions. She was amply repaid with support from her friends at Focus on the Family, even as her actions do political damage elsewhere.

And from one of the most-watched primaries in the state this year, the Craig Daily Press reports:

[Rep. Randy] Baumgardner easily defeated incumbent state Sen. Jean White, of Hayden, on Tuesday night in what proved to be one of Colorado’s more heated Republican primary elections this cycle…

Baumgardner said he plans to move past a recent story published by multiple news outlets, including national outlets and the Steamboat Today, that a sex offender was living at his home in Hot Sulphur Springs. FOX 31 Denver originally reported that the sex offender was unregistered but later clarified he registered in April.

“I think that’s a nonissue,” Baumgardner said about the story. “We’re going to move forward.”

…White said she was disappointed when she and about 30 supporters watched the results trickle in from the HiWay Bar in Hayden.

“I was disappointed that his lies trumped my truths,” she said about Baumgardner after she conceded the race. “I’m proud of my campaign. I can stand proud. I stood on my principles. I worked hard. I ran a clean campaign. And unfortunately, the lies won.”

The ugly fight between Rep. Randy Baumgardner and Sen. Jean White, primarily driven by Sen. White’s vote for civil unions legislation, is a metaphor for everything that’s wrong with the Republican Party in Colorado today. Sen. White’s vote for civil unions reflected the overwhelming public support the issue now enjoys among Colorado voters–including many Republicans. Rep. Baumgardner, on the other hand, helped filibuster the civil unions bill at the end of this year’s session. Democrats have already told reporters that they plan to invest more resources in the SD-8 race this fall than they ever would have if Sen. White had won.

In just about all of these cases, Republicans made choices that could do more harm than good in the long run. Even if some of these candidates, like Vicki Marble, win in November, they could emerge as boat-anchor embarrassments to their caucus when the legislature convenes in January. Some safe districts could become pickups, like SD-8. In the case of CD-2, Republicans never really thought they could beat incumbent Rep. Jared Polis, but the moderate Weissmann might have forced Polis to pay attention to his own re-election over helping others. Thanks to Lundberg, the CD-2 race is now an asset to Democrats for branding Republicans as crazy.

Bottom line: Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call has talked a great deal about the need for his party to field reasonable candidates with intelligent viewpoints–on immigration as one example. Other top Republicans like Mario Nicolais have warned their colleagues that long-term minority status awaits the GOP if they are unable to break out of their wedge-issue boxes.

Better luck in 2014, we guess.

2012 GOP Primary Prognostications

Here are our thoughts on four bellwether GOP primaries taking place in Colorado tomorrow.

SD-8, Baumgardner vs. White

Sen. Jean White says that the tough primary she is facing in Senate District 8 isn’t supposed to be happening. Rep. Randy Baumgardner, Sen. White claims, promised he would not challenge her in a primary only to renege on that promise. Sen. White’s vote in favor of civil unions legislation has left her vulnerable to nasty attacks from national conservative activist groups that may nonetheless be effective in a right-leaning primary. Rep. Baumgardner is by most estimates favored to win this race with civil unions playing a major role, despite a late-breaking scandal regarding an unregistered sex offender living in his home. It’s an irony that could leave the SD-8 GOP primary ripe for late-night talk show monologue ridicule.

A Baumgardner primary win over Sen. White would also mark a final end to claims from Republicans that Democrats beset them with “misogynist” maps intended to take out women GOP legislators. Obviously, they would be demonstrably doing a fine job of that themselves.

HD-19, Stephens vs. Looper

The incumbent-on-incumbent primary between House Majority Leader Amy Stephens and Rep. Marsha Looper has been an ugly and divisive battle, highlighted by accusations of heresy to conservative doctrine–mostly on the part of Stephens, related to her on-again-off-again backing for widely supported health insurance exchanges that Republicans, amped up to oppose anything and everything associated with  ”Obamacare,” could not distinguish from the federal reform.  The fight broke along unusual lines in the GOP coalition, with Stephens proudly waving the Focus on the Family banner and Looper rallying the Tom Tancredo faction. If Stephens holds off Looper’s challenge, it’s a sign that the GOP House leadership’s desperate fight against civil union legislation was a win with social conservatives in HD-19.

CD-2, Weissmann vs. Lundberg

Relatively unknown businessman Eric Weissmann has lined up GOP insider support in his primary against conservative state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, but Lundberg has done more to organize Republicans who are likely to vote in primaries. Lundberg’s support in evangelical Christian communities in Larimer County could give him the decisive edge against the oddly lackluster Weissmann, who hasn’t fought back with aggressive media buys or field work that we’ve seen.

Whoever prevails faces an uphill battle to catch incumbent Jared Polis in a district that, while more competitive on paper, retains solidly Democratic voting patterns.

CD-5, Blaha vs. Lamborn

Three-term incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn faces the unexpected fight of his career against the upstart but strong newcomer Robert Blaha. The GOP primary is virtually decisive in CD-5, so conservative primary voters aren’t faced with the realistic possibility of a loss of the seat of a Democrat.

As we’ve recounted in this space repeatedly, Lamborn has failed to endear himself to his Republican constituents despite an impeccably loyal voting record. Doug Lamborn fails to thrive because at a certain level, it is not enough to be a loyal automaton who carries the flag without ever doing anything to distinguish himself–while committing a variety of blunders and slip-ups that make even the most loyal Republican wince. It doesn’t matter if Robert Blaha is any better than Lamborn, though he’s impressed more people than we would have expected when we first heard of him.

If Blaha wins, he’ll be one small sign that checks against incompetence and ideological blindness to incompetence do exist–even if none of our other bellwethers say so.

2012 Primary Preview: Part 2 (State House Races)

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

With just a few days left in Colorado’s 2012 Primary season, Let’s take a look at the battles that are being fought and where the players currently stand.

Just like in Part 1, covering the CU Regent and Senate Races, there are a few things to acknowledge up front first:

1) Ballots have been out and available for casting for a while now. Many of those likely to vote already have, and there may be little (if anything) besides GOTV that candidates can do to legitimately benefit or harm their campaigns.

2. I am not going to touch the federal races. There are already a million people doing analysis on these races and at least 95% of them know more about the dynamics of a federal race than I do.

3. I am going to spend more time on the races that are both interesting and important. For instance, it doesn’t really matter which Republican wins in HD4 because they have a 0% chance of beating Dan Pabon. And while there is technically a Republican primary in HD21, one of the candidates has only raised $500, while the other has brought in over $8000. So there really isn’t much analysis necessary.

4. I don’t claim to be an expert on these races or any kind of “insider”. I’m just giving one observer’s perspectives. Please feel free to contribute your own.

That said, enjoy my little list. This batch covers the State House races. Follow the link above to get to the CU Regent and State Senate races.

House District 1

DEM Jeanne Labuda vs DEM Corrie Houck

to take on the winner of

GOP John Kidd vs GOP James Wildt

The only double primary in the state right this year. But only the Dem’s race counts. In this area of SW Denver, Democrats are 42% of the active voters, so there is no realistic chance of the GOP nominee winning the big one.

Jeanne Labuda is out-spending her opponent by a 2-1 margin and has the incumbent advantage. She clearly knows that the Primary is the only races that matters and she’s not holding back. She’s got a serious paid canvass operation and by election day, every voter will have her her name and seen her picture many, many times. Not to mention the fact that most of them have voted for her several times before and will not have any serious reason to change their mind now.

Bottom Line: That said, Houck is putting up an admirable fight taking on three-term incumbent Labuda, but ultimately, Labuda is going to be elected to another term in the House.

House District 4

GOP Stuart Siffring vs GOP David Dobson

to take on DEM Dan Pabon

The two GOP candidates, combined, have spent only about $500. Rep. Pabon, meanwhile, has spent nearly $14,000 and hasn’t even really started campaigning, yet.

Bottom Line: This race falls squarely in the “lost cause” category for the GOP. Pabon will be handily re-elected.

House District 5

GOP Ronnie Nelson vs GOP Matthew Zielinski (write-in candidate)

to take on DEM Chrisanta Duran

Bottom Line: See HD4. Nelson will win the primary as the only name on the ballot, but Duran will be re-elected in November.

House District 12

DEM Mike Foote vs DEM Angie Layton

to take on GOP Russ Lyman

This race is interesting. Foote has actually out-raised Layton by nearly a 4-1 margin. ($40k vs $11). But Layton has loaned herself $25k to make up for the major split.

Each candidate has a long list of major supporters, and this is going to be a really tough fight. Mike Foote has the on-paper experience as the Deputy District Attorney, while Layton has (besides plenty of money to self-fund with) a long background of non-profit law and activism and was a volunteer lobbyist at the capitol for the last 4 years.

Bottom Line: This one is tough to call. Layton’s style of in-your-face activism excites democratic voters, especially in the boulder region, who may choose to overlook the more established candidate in favor of some fire. But Foote is no slouch. He is raising serious money and spending it with discipline. If I had to put money on either, it would be him.

House District 19

GOP Marsha Looper vs GOP Amy Stephens

To take on ACN Timothy Biolchini (No Democrat running)

What can I say about this race that everybody doesn’t know already. It is a bitter fight between two powerful House Republican incumbents. Both of them are extraordinarily well funded ($76k for Looper and $79k for Stephens) and are doing their best to out-conservative each other.

Looper won top line at assembly and, even though Stephens is working hard to stress her work to oppress gay people by preventing a vote on civil unions, the stigma of Amy-Care remains.

Bottom Line: It will be close and it will be ugly, but I’m calling this one for Looper.

House District 21

GOP Lois Landgraf vs GOP Albert Sweet

to take on ACN Shawn Halstead (No Democrat Running)

Bob Gardner left a gaping hole in this district that the candidates are trying desperate to fill and Landgraf looks more than poised to take it. Her fundraising advantage is huge, ($6,700 vs $475) plus she is pumping her own money in as well. This is a winner takes all primary with only token opposition from the ACN candidate, who hasn’t raised a penny.

Bottom Line: It would take a pretty serious miracle for Sweet to pull off a win here. Landgraf will serve in the House next year.

House District 22

GOP Justin Everett vs GOP Loren Bauman

to take on Dem Mary Parker

Everett won big at the district assembly with 58% and barring something extraordinary, he will win the primary. It’s really hard to lose when you’ve raised ten times as much as your opponent. Plus he has name recognition in the district, having run previously for the State Senate (he lost in a Primary to Mike Kopp).

Bottom Line: Everett will advance to a rougher-than-usual general election fight against Mary Parker.

House District 39

GOP Polly Lawrence vs GOP Lu Ann Busse

to take on DEM Carla Turner

This is the quintessential Establishment Republican vs Tea Party race. While Lawrence (The owner of an enormous construction company) has been scooping up endorsements from big GOP names in Colorado, Busse is her Glen Beck style rabble-rousing, social conservatism, and accusations of media bias into play.

Lawrence is winning in fundraising, but not by a lot ($56k vs $50k). Busse is running almost her entire campaign by attacking Lawrence and working hard not to spend too much time talking about her own credentials (Although having worked for the 9-12 “the government going to take your guns and kill your babies” Project would probably play well with primary voters.)

Bottom Line: While this one is tough to call, the backing of McNulty, Penry, Harvey, MUrray, and others should carry Lawrence across the finish line on election day. But as we’ve learned before, the rabid tea-party candidates should never be underestimated. Anything could happen here.

House District 41

DEM Jovan Melton vs DEM Terry Todd

To take on Independent JM Fay (No Republican Running)

Update: JM Fay did not meet the criteria to get on the ballot. So the Democratic nominee will be the only name on the ballot.

I’m not going to write a lot about this race simply because of how entrenched in it I am. I volunteer for Jovan Melton and was in the race myself up until the March Assembly.

Candidate Todd is running to replace his term-limited wife in the State House, while she runs for the vacant Senate District 28 seat. Melton entered the race about six month’s after Todd, but overtook him in both support and fundraising quickly.

To date, Melton has raised $24k to Todd’s $16k. Melton has raised three times as much ($9k vs $3k) from within the city of Aurora and took top line at the district assembly by 61-39.

Bottom Line: Every objective indication says that Melton will win. But this race continues to make the must-watch list for a reason, it could easily go either way.

House District 48

GOP Jeffrey Hare vs GOP Stephen Humphrey

to take on… no one. No one else is running.

This is the House seat formerly occupied by Glen Vaad, who is now running for the State Senate. Hare has not only been ahead of his opponent in fundraising (Despite rejecting special interest PAC and SDC money), but his PR choices seem to be more on par with winning candidates.

However, Humphrey is picking up big endorsements like Ken Buck and Scott Renfroe, not to mention Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and others.

Former Senator Ken Gordan and his group,, is putting resources into this race to help elect Hare. He and his organization have made it their goal to support candidates who turn down special interest money, regardless of party, and residents all over this district have received repeated phone calls from volunteers of CleanSlateNow, urging them to vote for Hare, which may just be the extra advantage that he needs to win this election.

Bottom Line: These two split the assembly vote by 51-49 and the Primary is likely to be just as tight.

House District 60

GOP Jim Wilson vs GOP Steve Collins

to take on DEM Pier Cohen

Steve Collins is a self-described libertarian and vintage motorcycle collector with little to no government experience. He has struggle in this race to give voters a reason to vote for him or donate (he’s raised just over $1000).

Meanwhile, Jim Wilson (James on the Ballot) boasts 40 years as a public school teacher and superintendent as well as dozens of titles and memberships that make him look to be the only experienced candidate in the race.

Wilson also offered up this quote for the Book Civica Guide to the 2012 Colorado Statehouse Elections, “Because of my having survived 40 years in public education as a Republican, I have a track record at the local, state, and national level of working with all kinds of people and getting things done without sacrificing my conservative beliefs.” Wilson’s biggest vulnerability is that, despite having a significant fundraising advantage, he is spending almost none of it. However, this is more likely a sign of confidence about his chances.

Bottom Line: Wilson has the local name recognition, support, and credentials to win this race without breaking a sweat.

House District 61

GOP Debra Irvine vs GOP David Justice

to take on DEM Millie Hamner and IND Kathleen Curry

Debra Irvine has one of the most diverse resumes of any candidate in Colorado. She is currently an professional artist, but has also worked as a German Instructor, Ski Instructor, Hotel Inventory Manager, Suicide Hotline Counselor, DOD Sub-Contractor, and Air Force Academy Clerk. She went to High School in Germany, College in Maryland and holds two graduate degrees from the University of Colorado and the University of Denver. She has run for the State House before and served a term as the chair of the Summit County Republicans.

David Justice, on the other hand, offers little to potential supporters. He has refused to submit information to the various groups that publish voter guides and his website is actually a blog on which he spends more time complaining about how much he hates being a candidate than he does actually justifying his candidacy.

Whoever wins this primary (Irvine) will find themselves in a crowded General Election. Former Democrat Kathleen Curry is running once again as an independent. She help the seat previously, but was denied a spot on the ballot when she left the Democratic party too late in 2010 and the courts upheld the decision to keep her name off of the ballot. Nonetheless, she continued to campaign as a write-in candidate and almost won the seat. So the DEM and GOP candidates certainly have something to worry about.

Bottom Line: Debra Irvine will win the primary easily, but has a tough road ahead of her to make it through the General Election.

House District 63

GOP Lori Saine vs GOP Mike Mazzocco (Write-in candidate)

to take on DEM Tim Ericson

Running as a write-in candidate takes a lot of resources and Mike Mazzocco just doesn’t have it. He has an impressive website (even though he makes his attacks against his opponent more prominent than promoting himself) and he would probably have had a good chance at winning if he had met the deadlines and got himself on the ballot.

Lori Saine fell into some controversy shortly after winning an exclusive spot on the ballot at the district assembly with 62% of the vote, when it came to light that she had just been through both bankruptcy and foreclosure. But as the sole name on the ballot, she will likely still fly through the primary without issue.

Bottom Line: Saine will win the primary and (given the dynamics of the district) will likely win the general election as well.  

2012 Primary Preview – Part 1 (CU Regent and State Senate)

(Interesting forecasts – promoted by Pita)

With just a few days left in Colorado’s 2012 Primary season, Let’s take a look at the battles that are being fought and where the players currently stand.

A few things to acknowledge up front first:

1) Ballots have been out and available for casting for a while now. Many of those likely to vote already have, and there may be little (if anything) besides GOTV that candidates can do to legitimately benefit or harm their campaigns.

2. I am not going to touch the federal races. There are already a million people doing analysis on these races and at least 95% of them know more about the dynamics of a federal race than I do.

3. I am going to spend more time on the races that are both interesting and important. For instance, it doesn’t really matter which Republican wins in HD4 because they have a 0% chance of beating Dan Pabon. And while there is technically a Republican primary in HD21, one of the candidates has only raised $500, while the other has brought in over $8000. So there really isn’t much analysis necessary.

That said, enjoy my little list. And feel free to jump in with your own knowledge and insight on the various races. The first batch covers the CU Regents race and State Senate races. I’ll catch up with the District Attorney and State House races before the weekend.  

CU Regent At-Large

GOP Matt Arnold vs GOP Brian Davidson

to take on DEM Stephen Ludwig

There has been plenty of coverage about the embarrassing display of self-destruction that is the Matt Arnold campaign. And it seems that Republicans are eager to rid themselves of Matt Arnold with enough time for voters to forget about him before November. Davidson has raised $37 to Arnolds $11k. But what’s more telling is the last two reporting periods. Davidson raised over $12k, while Arnold raised only $2k. Compare that to Feb-April, where Davidson raised $6k to Arnold’s $5.5 and you can see how much the tide has changed.

Bottom line: Expect Davidson to take this one in a landslide.

Senate District 8

GOP Rep. Randy Baumgardner vs incumbent GOP Sen. Jean White

to take on Dem. Emily Tracy

The first important thin to know about this race is that neither of the candidates has been elected to the seat before. Jean White was appointed to fill her husband’s seat when he resigned to work for Gov. Hickenlooper. The second is that this Senate district is dominated by Republicans, but motivated by moderates. Jean White was rated one of the most liberal members of the GOP caucus and voted with the Dems in favor of Civil Unions. She is also mopping the floor with Rep. Baumgardner in terms of fundraising. She’s raised $55k to his $21. This is a prime example of one of the few places where being a frothing-at-the-mouth, red-meat conservative doesn’t actually work for a GOP primary.

Correction: This paragraph was corrected to remove an inaccurate description of the geography of the distict.

Bottom Line: Expect White to win her first election and return to the Senate for a full term.

Senate District 10

GOP Rep. Larry Liston vs GOP Owen Hill

to take on… nobody. No democrat is running and the ACP candidate has yet to raise any money.

I really can’t describe this race any better than Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman did last month:

“Liston, a veteran lawmaker termed out of his House seat, faces an aggressive challenge by nonprofit executive Owen Hill in a bid to move up to the more rarified chamber. No newcomer to politics himself, Hill came within a few hundred votes of unseating Democratic Senate Majority Leader John Morse in a neighboring district in the last election and clobbered Liston at the GOP assembly, taking 64 percent of delegate votes to win top-line on the ballot. Are primary voters content with Liston’s business-friendly brand of Republicanism, or are they itching for the more confrontational style Hill would bring to the Capitol? As much as any race in the state, this contest could help define what direction the Colorado GOP takes in coming years.”

Liston has pulled ahead by quite a bit in fundraising since the above was written and seems to have the momentum to win it.

Bottom Line: Liston seems to everything going for him, but this is one that is tough to call. It could easily go either way.

Senate District 21

GOP Francine Bigelow vs GOP Matthew Plichta

to take on Dem. Jessie Ulibarri

This is one of those races that doesn’t really matter. Winning now simply means losing in the general election to Ulibarri, who has raised more in the last two weeks than the two GOP candidates have raised in the entire campaign… combined.

Bottom Line: Jessie Ulibarri has this one in the bag. The GOP candidates are just fighting for the chance to carry the conservative flag into the fire.

Senate District 23

GOP Rep. Glen Vaad vs. GOP Vicky Marble

to take on Dem. Lee Kemp

If you only looked at the fundraising, you might be tempted to think this race is neck-and-neck. But if you really want an indicator of who is going to win this race, simply google it. Go on, go type in “Colorado Senate District 28″ right now. You will find pages upon pages of news, websites, and mentions of Vicki Marble and next to nothing about State Rep. Glen Vaad. And if you actually go to their websites (once you manage to find Vaad’s), you will find a mountain of big name endorsements for Marble, while Vaad a train-wreck of a website that offers little for the curious voter.

Bottom Line: Marble is running this race to win it, while Vaad doesn’t seem to know what’s about to hit him. I’m calling this one for the scrappy outside challenger.

Senate District 28

GOP John Lyons vs GOP Art Carlson

to take on Dem Nancy Todd

This race is interesting. It’s relatively low budget (Each of the candidates have raised less than $3000). But they are fighting it hard. Art Carlson has put his resources into yard signs, plastering every corner of the district. Meanwhile, Lyons is putting his money on paper, dropping lit at doors and targeted mailboxes. But with so little for either to spend, awareness among voters is likely low. In the end though, whoever wins will be looking forward to taking on State Rep. Nancy Todd and her warchest of $23,000, and that’s after she officially kicked off her campaign just two weeks ago.

Bottom Line: As much fuss as Rep. Nancy Todd has been making over this race and trying to paint it as “competitive”, it simply isn’t. At least not with the candidates that the GOP has managed to offer up. Neither of the GOP challengers is getting any kind of support from the larger party or from anyone else, really, and Todd’s name ID alone gives her a massive advantage. Rep. Todd will be Sen. Todd soon enough. No one who seriously looks at HD28 can expect anything but a decisive win for the Democrats.

Senate District 35

Dem. Crestina Martinez vs. Dem. Armando Valdez

to take on GOP Larry Crowder

The one and only Democratic Party Primary in this post and one of only 5 statewide. The money is weird. Martinez has outraised Valdez by 3-1, but she’s not spending it. She’s spent only $3k on the race while Valdez has spent over $8k. When I asked some people I know in ther area to explain the told me that Valdez is simply not performing at any level that presents a threat to Martinez’s campaign, so she’s saving up her money for the General Election. Hopefully, for her sake, that doesn’t prove to be a mistake. That said, I hope that, if Valdez does lose in this race, that he comes back and runs for something again one day. He is a smart, well-spoken young man with a lot of potential. And the people of Southern Colorado would do well to use him o the fullest of that potential.

Bottom Line: Martinez won by nearly 20 points at the County Assembly and seems poised to win big again next Tuesday. But with so little money being moved, anything could happen.  

Randy Baumgardner’s Got Some ‘Splaining To Do

FOX 31′s Eli Stokols reports that a certain law-and-order Colorado Republican representative, in the thick of a cutthroat primary, has got a problem on the home front. A big problem.

State Rep. Randy Baumgardner, who is challenging Sen. Jean White in a Republican primary for her senate seat, is benefiting from mailers questioning White’s values after she voted in favor of civil unions.

But FOX 31 Denver has confirmed that Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, is currently harboring an unregistered sex offender in his home, a decision that has his neighbors questioning his own values. [Pols emphasis]

“This is an ignorant, arrogant individual who has no place in public office,” one of Baumgardner’s constituents wrote in an email to FOX31 Denver. “If you are running on morals, then have some.”

…He was arrested at Baumgardner’s home on April 12 for failing to register as a sex offender.

Baumgardner paid the $2,000 to bail him out.

Rep. Randy Baumgardner told FOX 31′s Stokols that the sex offender in question, Michael K. Frierson, “was arrested but no charges were filed.” This ignores the rather obvious problem that one must be convicted of a crime in order to be required to register as a sex offender. In fact, Mr. Frierson pled guilty to a charge of sexual assault on a victim more than ten years younger–a crime committed when he was 25, meaning the victim was 15 years of age or younger. Also, Mr. Frierson, who Rep. Baumgardner claims has never been “anything but respectful” while living in his home, has a mile-long rap sheet on a variety of other charges.

Here’s Michael Frierson’s most recent arrest report, and his lengthy CBI arrest record.

We’ll be interested in seeing if the law-abiding GOP primary voters in SD-8 find this worse than Sen. Jean White’s vote for civil unions. We’d objectively have to say they, um, ought to.

Looper/Stephens Campaign Reaches New Depths in “Hate The Gays” Competition

(Surprised? Neither are we. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Marsha Looper’s campaign has reached new depths in her attempt to stay in the State Legislature by outing her own son as gay.

Looper’s campaign, in an attempt to show that she loathes the gays even more than her primary opponent Amy Stephens, has issued a press release saying that even though her son is gay, she stood opposed to civil unions.  Looper’s campaign, through her campaign manager, Lana Fore-Warkocz, stated, “God is truly to be praised for Marsha Looper because she also has a homosexual son (and did not let that influence her decision to oppose equal rights for her son and other gays and lesbians).

Looper then promptly distanced herself from her campaign manager’s actions by saying she was “very disappointed” in Fore-Warkocz’s actions.  She did not, however, fire her….

Full Story:…

Nasty Mailers Hit SD-8 GOP Primary

With a hat tip to Lynn Bartels of the Denver paper, here is the mailer attacking SD-8 incumbent Republican Sen. Jean White, in a tough primary battle against fellow Republican Rep. Randy Baumgardner–we were also forwarded a copy of these yesterday. Hide your eyes, Junior:

As Bartels reports, this is primarily an attack on Sen. White’s support this year, as well as during last year’s legislative session, for civil unions legislation–with the visual of two men kissing intended to viscerally shock conservative SD-8 primary voters. The fact is, some of those conservatives will probably object more to this “suggestive” material appearing in their mailbox at all, since Sen. White’s position on civil unions is hardly a secret. So there’s that.

But what’s particularly interesting in this mailer is the second accusation, that Sen. White voted “yes to give taxpayer funds to abortion-on-demand provider Planned Parenthood.” This basis for this claim, noted at the bottom of the mailer, is

That is, the same Long Bill budget that Rep. Randy Baumgardner, and every member of the GOP-controlled Colorado House except Rep. Chris Holbert voted for! The same budget House Republicans are trumpeting as their shining 2012 achievement! That takes chutzpah, folks.

But before we get all factual, note that the intended audience won’t read past the guys kissing.

Colorado Pols Mailbag #2

You Asked Alva, and we’ve answered. Last Friday we put out the call for a new mailbag, and Pols users submitted several questions in the comments section and via email.

Got a question for Pols? Email In the meantime, the answers to your latest questions (some serious, others…not so much) are after the jump.

Voyageur starts us off with a serious question…

In general, how is Pols doing? I notice a distinct falloff in the number of comments and number of users logged in. Are twitter and other social media cutting into us?  With the folding of the Rocky and continue diminishing of the Post, the need for a viable media like Colorado Pols is critical. What’s the outlook?

We’re actually doing quite well, with traffic continuing to increase relative to other years. There has been some reduction in comments because 2012 is the first time in a decade that we haven’t had a statewide race on the ballot — at this point in 2010, we had multiple Senate candidates for both Democrats and Republicans – but that just means we have more people lurking and reading but not commenting. You’ll see some positive changes at Pols very soon that will only make Pols more awesomer.

‘A lurker on ColoradoPols’ asks via email…

Dear ColoradoPols,

What is M Miklosi doing to capitalize on M Coffman’s gaffe? I would think he would have ads at this point with quotes from Obama (“I believe in the American worker,” and the one about America not being able to be great w/out a strong middle class) with overlays of Coffman’s statement that he and Obama don’t share the same vision of America. I mean, the quotes are already part of the Obama campaign ads; can’t he use them?

I don’t live in that district, so don’t have a say, but it seems to me M Miklosi has been handed two gifts-one through redistricting and another through M Coffman’s loose lips, as they called them during the WWII-and that he’d do SOMETHING to sink M Coffman’s ship. His statements on 9News made him look like M Milquetoast.

We assume you are referring to “Joe” Miklosi, unless the CD-6 candidate has a twin brother named Matt. Miklosi would no doubt love to put some ads up on TV using Coffman’s quotes against him, but his campaign doesn’t have the money to run ads this early in the cycle. He needs to save his money for September and October.

MADCO asks…

  • Why does Pols hate R’s?

    We have no problem with R’s. But we’ve always found the Z to be a little presumptuous.

  • Aren’t you all just one guy anyway?

    Much like the “Lord of the Rings” saga, no single man (or woman) could wield the power of Colorado Pols and not be destroyed by it.

  • How come some posters get paid more than others?
  • Not everyone gets the same check. Some people get those huge checks that you get for winning a golf tournament or something. Others get regular checks. Some people get checks with rainbows and unicorns on them.

    RedGreen asks…

  • Why doesn’t the Big Line include Colorado’s presidential vote? Isn’t that a more interesting question than how badly Brandon Shaffer will lose?

    That’s a good idea. We will add the Presidential race to the Line.

  • Why are so many Denver Pols posts about Aurora politics?

    Because it would be silly to post stuff about Denver politics on a site called Aurora Pols.  

  • Do you think Colorado Pols will still be around in three or four years, or is social media taking over the need for conversations and news dissemination that Pols has filled?
  • We’ll celebrate our 8th birthday in December. We’ll still be here in four years – only bigger and better. And with mayonnaise.

    ProgressiveCowgirl asks…

  • Do you approve of organizations posting their news and events here, not just individuals posting op-ed and news commentary style blogs?

    We don’t really restrict any kind of political postings, and we’ll continue to be open to any individual, group or organization that abides by the rules.

  • Why did you put a user-generated content disclaimer on ArapaGOP’s promoted diary when you don’t put that disclaimer on most promoted diaries?

    It wasn’t a disclaimer – it was a more of a highlight. We encourage people from all political perspectives to post on Pols (say that three times fast).  

  • What’s your favorite breakfast food?


  • Do you do any marketing/advertising for Pols, or is it all word of mouth and Twitter hashtags?

    We’ve never done any sort of paid advertising or marketing, but we’re considering it. We’ve spread organically, kind of like a virus. The good kind of virus.

  • Which elected officials are lurking here and not posting?

    We don’t know who anybody is, quite honestly. Despite what conspiracy theorists and outright nutjobs might tell you, we don’t have any way to know who is reading or posting at Colorado Pols unless the user provides that information intentionally (like if they sign up for an account with an email address that includes their real name). There are thousands of registered users at Colorado Pols – far too many for us to track even if we were interested in doing so (which we aren’t).

  • Green Lantern vs. Spiderman?
  • Green Lantern, because he can fly.

    VanDammer asks…

    Why are Penalty Box sentences so weak, and why aren’t Front Page Editors allowed to dispense justice on content offenders?

    The idea of the Penalty Box is really to just sit an offender in the corner until they can cool down and play nice (or play by the rules). We don’t ever like to ban users unless it’s really necessary, but anything that would justify an excessively-long stay in the Penalty Box would likely be enough to get you banned outright.

    DavidThi808 asks…

    If you could have one bill passed & signed (state level), what would it be? Assume it will be passed in next year’s session but you have to pick now, before you know who will control the House.

    There are a lot of potential answers to that question, but we’ll go with fixing an issue that we believe is at the core of political inaction in Colorado: Compensation for elected officials.

    Colorado legislators should be paid more than $32,000 per year. Yes, we know that this is “technically” a part-time job, but in order to serve in the legislature most people must have some other source of income. It’s hard to find an employer who would let you just take six months off every year, which excludes the vast majority of the population from being able to serve. By raising the salary to, say, $50,000 per year, Colorado would attract a more diverse and qualified batch of candidates every two years, which in turn would lead to a more diverse and qualified bunch under the Gold Dome.

    The salaries for Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer and Secretary of State should also be raised. Colorado’s Attorney General, a statewide office, makes about half as much as a District Attorney in this state. That doesn’t make any sense.  

    Raymond1 asks…

    What if any measures could Governor Hickenlooper take to grant gay and lesbian couples some of the rights that civil unions would grant? I’m thinking of a few:

    1. Create a domestic partners registry that would grant no rights on its own, but would create a status that the below measures could enhance.

    2. State employees can put same-sex partners on insurance (do we have that already? I don’t think we do).

    3.  Any hospitals in Colorado, as a condition of coverage in any state-run insurance (state employees, public benefits recipients etc.) must allow registered domestic partners to enjoy visitation and health care proxy rights.

    4. Put on a state website, maybe the same one with the new domestic partners registry, a sample will and power of attorney for same-sex couples to use.


    We can’t help you much here. Polsters, unite and answer this question!

    Fidel’s dirt nap asks…

    If ArapaGOPs brain were made entirely of veal…How much would it be worth, and would he construct better arguments on this blog?

    Is there a going rate for veal? Can you mail excess veal to someplace that will send you cash in return (like those Gold-for-Cash infomercials)? You should be able to put your 401k plan into veal.