Purged: Priola Resigns as House Minority Whip

Rep. Kevin Priola (R).

Rep. Kevin Priola (R).

The other shoe drops from last week's intra-Colorado House GOP infighting, Denver Post's Anthony Cotton:

Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, said Monday he is resigning as Republican minority whip in the wake of an internal party squabble last week…

During a debate last Thursday on dueling amendments to the Student Success Act, which will provide funding to K-12 schools, Priola backed Democratic co-sponsor Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, over fellow Republican Rep. Jim Wilson, R-Salida. The move drew the immediate ire of a number of Republicans, who alleged Priola wasn’t acting in keeping with his role as whip.

Within hours, the Republican caucus held a meeting, with Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, leading an effort to remove Priola. The attempt eventually failed, but it was clear Priola was on shaky ground within the party.

As we discussed last week, there is a great deal of frustration building among conservative Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly. After stoking outrage to a fever pitch during last year's successful recall campaigns against Democrats in the Senate, conservatives have suffered a wave of setbacks in 2014–failing to pack committee hearings for stillborn repeal measures, ridicule after showing up to hearing unprepared to debate their own bills or call witnesses, and widespread criticism of unpopular legislation introduced by Republican legislators like this year's total abortion ban bill. It seems that frustration boiled over last week, when Rep. Kevin Priola supported a Democratic amendment to the Student Success Act over an amendment offered by fellow Republican Rep. Jim Wilson.

The swift retribution campaign against Priola headed by Rep. Chris Holbert ended embarrassingly when caucus leadership declared the move out of order, but we're not at all surprised to see Priola resign from House leadership today. At this point, the caucus would have been weakened further if Priola had not resigned from leadership, even though Priola is not erratic enough to pull a Kathleen Curry and disaffiliate from the GOP altogether. It's expected that the candidate named to replace Priola in last week's dustup, Rep. Polly Lawrence, will be the next minority whip.

With hard right Republican legislative candidates continuing to do well in the primary process, conservatives in the legislature may yet feel empowered to throw their weight around. Don't look for anything to change there until the June primary–or maybe until after November.

 

GOP Caucus Crackup? Anti-Priola “Coup Attempt” Fails

UPDATE: Here's a clip of Rep. Kevin Priola from yesterday's debate over Rep. Jim Wilson's amendment to House Bill 14-1292. The tension then brewing over Priola's opposition to this mostly GOP-supported amendment is clear in his voice:

​—–

GOP Reps. Kevin Priola and Chris Holbert.

GOP Reps. Kevin Priola and Chris Holbert.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports this afternoon:

House Republicans met for 30 minutes Thursday morning after Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, called a meeting with the goal of replacing Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, as the caucus whip.

Priola had alienated many of his fellow GOP colleagues a day earlier when he declined to support an amendment to the Student Success Act sponsored by Rep. Jim Wilson, R-Salida, that most Republicans supported.

Priola hadn’t paid Wilson, one of the more popular members in the caucus, the courtesy of informing him ahead of time that he wouldn’t be supporting his amendment related to a transparency website to show how school districts spend public money.

The Denver Post's Anthony Cotton has a little more reaction from Republicans:

According to the Republicans, part of Priola’s job as Whip is to determine where the membership stands on the issues and help align support within the party–on Wednesday, party members say, Priola not only failed to do that, he argued on the floor in favor of Hamner’s amendment over Wilson’s.

When Hamner’s amendment was passed in a close vote, it led to Thursday’s move by Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, to have Priola removed.

“We were shocked and disappointed that happened,” Holbert said. “He should have let us know his position and we could have made adjustments.”

In the end, despite the push from Rep. Chris Holbert to remove Rep. Kevin Priola from his Minority Whip position on the spot today, minority caucus chair Rep. Kathleen Conti scuttled the move by ruling the motion out of order–as Priola hadn't resigned, the position technically wasn't "vacant." This would clearly indicate that Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso  was not on board. Originally, as Stokols reports, an angry GOP caucus was prepared to oust Priola, as indicated by an initial vote against adjourning the meeting of the caucus. After Conti ruled the whole business out of order, a second vote to adjourn passed.

So what really happened today? For the best clue available, we turn to Rep. Frank McNulty:

The attempted coup, whatever vote precipitated Thursday’s meeting, has been a long time coming, according to several House Republicans who describe a widening gap between the caucus’s moderate and conservative wings.

“This isn’t about the amendment yesterday,” said Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch. “This is about personalities.”

By all accounts, this has been a very frustrating legislative session for the conservative wing of the GOP House caucus. After the success of last year's recall elections against two sitting Senators and the resignation of a third, conservatives expected to vigorously oppose Democrats at every step, setting the stage for a clear election season distinction. Instead, as we've recounted in this space, the base GOP outrage they hoped to sustain into this year has fizzled, and the GOP caucus took heavy criticism for dead-end ideological flights of fancy like the abortion ban bill. This incident over a relatively obscure Democratic amendment supported by Priola–which apparently didn't even pass on clean party lines, with several Democrats voting against along with most of the GOP–appears to ripped the scab off of a much larger intra-caucus disagreement.

Judging from the unsatisfying end of today's blowup, we've probably not heard the last of it either.

The “Great Social Experiment” or “Leadership”?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

"This is going to be one of the great social experiments of this century"
~Governor John Hickenlooper

 

Yesterday's senate hearing on SB14-177 and SB14-178 drew a standing-room-only crowd; one that ultimately demanded an overflow room for the observers and witnesses.  The attendees were a broad swath of Colorado citizens: mother and child, medical refugees desperate to find a remedy for their child's condition; attorneys, social workers, business owners, political activists, lobbyists, and myself as the sole farmer in the room. It was an afternoon of passionate testimony by medical marijuana activists who see the bill as a subtle, some may say "backroom" attempt,  to recriminalize the use and or possession of cannabis under section 18-18-102 of the Colorado statute.  The vague language of the proposed bill caused confusion even amongst the law enforcement and social workers who provided testimony for both the proponents and the opposition. 

I'm forever in awe of the breadth and depth of the human and social capacity that Colorado possesses.  The testimony by Jeri Shepard, a Greeley attorney, was compelling.  Jeri went point by salient point, deconstructing the myths around legalization, she offered to the members of the Judiciary Committee they read the book, "The New Jim Crow", an exercise she had participated in as a group Lenten exercise.  If one was measuring the prudence of Coloradans ending prohibition in 2012 by Jeri's testimony, you wouldn't describe our efforts as "a great social experiment".  You would call it "leadership".

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Banning Red Light Cameras, Anyone?

red-light-camera

As the Denver Post's Kurtis Lee reports, a bill to prohibit red light cameras in Colorado is gaining some bipartisan momentum:

A proposal introduced in the Senate late last week would bar cities and counties from using automated vehicle-identification systems that pinpoint drivers committing traffic infractions.

Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, has introduced similar legislation the past two years, though unlike in previous sessions, he has strong support this go-round from House and Senate Democratic leadership.

"These cameras just create revenue for cities and don't actually increase public safety at our intersections," said Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, the bill's prime House sponsor. "I think we should be focused on making people safe, not raising money." [Pols emphasis]

As Lee reports, local governments are raking in millions in fines from relatively low-overhead automatic camera enforcement at intersections. Not surprisingly, the Colorado Municipal League doesn't like this bill one bit–though they cite the public safety considerations, not the revenue. At the end of the day, money talks: and the badly needed revenue these cameras provide may prove reason enough to keep them with no further debate needed.

What say you, Polsters? Red-light liberty, public safety, or cash?

Abortion? Gun Control? Genghis Khan? It Must Be Holocaust Week Resolution Time!

Today, the Colorado General Assembly debated and gave initial passage to House Joint Resolution 14-1015, the annual resolution designating the last week of April as Holocaust Awareness Week. Each year, the debate over this resolution gives Republicans an opportunity to score rhetorical points on a variety of their favorite issues. Last year's memorable tag team on abortion from Sens. Kevin Lundberg and Scott Renfroe was a notable example.

This election year, CD-4 primary candidate Renfroe was muzzled, and Lundberg was a bit more subtle–though the abortion/Holocaust reference is still unmistakable:

LUNDBERG: And I ask all of us, are we still too conveniently numb? I see human life taken, that I believe is immoral and injust, am I too conveniently numb to speak out? [Pols emphasis] I pray that we will all re-evaluate our moral standards in each and every step we take…

Lundberg is known for a lot of things, folks, but failing to speak out about abortion is not one of them.

Not to be outdone, here's Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, making a not-so-subtle reference to the gun safety legislation passed in Colorado in 2013 as he invokes the Rwandan genocide of 1994:

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Field of Candidates for Jefferson County Offices (Almost) Set for June Primary

With both the Democratic and Republican county assemblies behind us, the field is set for the slate of races in Jefferson County. Here's the rundown for every race and candidate that will appear on the June Primary ballot, with a few notable exceptions (SD-16 and HD-23)…

STATE SENATE
SD-16 (Republicans will hold the SD-16 assembly this weekend)
Sen. Jeanne Nicholson (D), Incumbent
Tim Neville (R)
Richard Wenzel (R)

SD-19
Sen. Rachel Zenzinger (D), Incumbent
Laura Waters Woods (R) — top line on GOP ballot
Lang Sias (R)

SD-20
Sen. Cheri Jahn (D), Incumbent
Larry Queen (R)

SD-22
Sen. Andy Kerr (D), Incumbent
Tony Sanchez (R) — top line on GOP ballot
Mario Nicolais (R)
 

STATE HOUSE
HD-22
Rep. Justin Everett (R), Incumbent – top line on ballot
Loren Bauman (R)
Mary Parker (D)

HD-23
Rep. Max Tyler (D), Incumbent
Nate Marshall (R), expected to resign as candidate; Republicans have until April 17th to choose a replacement.
 

HD-24
Jessie Danielson (D) — top line on ballot
Kristian Teegardin (D)
Joseph DeMott (R)

HD-25
Jonathan Keyser (R)
Janet Heck Doyle (D)

HD-27
Rep. Libby Szabo (R), Incumbent
Wade Norris (D)

HD-28
Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D), Incumbent
Stacia Kuhn (R)

HD-29
Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D), Incumbent
Robert Ramirez (R)
 

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
CD-1
Taggart Hansen (D)

CD-7
Jane Goff (D), Incumbent


BOARD OF CU REGENTS
CD-2
Linda Shoemaker (D)
Robert Weverka (D)

CD-7
Irene Griego (D), Incumbent
 

COUNTY COMMISSIONER
District 3
Don Rosier (R), Incumbent
John Flerlage (D)


ASSESSOR
Louis DAurio (R)
Ronald Sandstrom (R)
Andrew Hassinger (D)

 

COUNTY CLERK AND RECORDER
Faye Griffin (R)
Michael Snow (D)

 

TREASURER
Tim Kauffman (R), Incumbent

 

CORONER
John Graham (R), Incumbent

 

SHERIFF
Jeff Shrader (R) — top line on ballot
Jim Shires (R)
 

GOP HD-35 Candidate Gets All Racial About Mandela, Obama

UPDATE: Looking further back on Maria Weese's Facebook page, we found this post from July 2012. We feel as though we can rest our case now.

The racial hypocrisy in this country has gotten much worse since Obama was elected President and the heat has really been turned up by the Blacks in this country. [Pols emphasis] Every excuse is being made to create the impression that the Whites in America are still persecuting and suppressing the Blacks in America. Every opportunity to find any slight reason to expose racial discrimination from the Black perspective is being jumped on by Sharpton and Jackson, and of course, our President. It must be an election year and you can see the wagons circling around Obama led by the Blacks, the far left liberalists, the unions, environmental activists, the members of the American communist party, the minorities getting government checks in the mail, the fat cats in the entertainment industry, and the rest of the uninformed and naive liberals in this country…

At least she capitalizes "Black?" This is about as bad as it gets, folks. Pure, undiluted racism–what you'd expect to see at Stormfront, not Facebook. As we wondered when the Nate Marshall white supremacist scandal broke, where is the vetting on the Republican side this year? Or might they be this far in the dregs for want of candidates?

Either way, it's truly stunning.

—–

HD-35 GOP candidate Maria Weese.

HD-35 GOP candidate Maria Weese.

According to the Adams County GOP's website, Republicans have found a candidate to run for House District 35, an open seat being vacated by term-limited Democratic Rep. Cherylin Peniston. We don't know much about HD-35 candidate Maria Weese, but what we do know comes from her Facebook page. It's clear Weese has attended lots of conservative public events recently like the Western Conservative Summit, which is a standard prelude to a run for office. And she likes puppies (photo right).

Last December, as most of the world mourned the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela, Maria Weese had some interesting thoughts to share on Facebook. And by "interesting," given that we're talking about a Colorado Republican legislative candidate and President Barack Obama, we of course mean racially charged and offensive:

Call it for what it is ,

Mandela was a Communist and and Obama is too….

Mandela won an election based on his race Obama won an election based on his race… [Pols emphasis]

Mandela was made famous world wide be media for his Marxist ideology, Obama was made famous world wide for the media hiding his Marxist ideology…

Mandela endured prison Obama endured Michelle….

To summarize what we think is Ms. Weese's point, Nelson Mandela was black. So is Barack Obama. As everyone knows, they both got elected "based on race" and they're both "communists." But don't think about that too hard, instead enjoy this gratuitous Michelle Obama joke! It's all so witty and on-point as a eulogy for Nelson Mandela that we just threw up in our mouths a little.

Republicans may not have a winner in HD-35, but they may have found Nate Marshall's dream date.

Republican Party Imploding In Most Important Electoral County in Colorado

Nate Marshall, GOP candidate for HD-23.

Nate Marshall, GOP candidate for HD-23.

UPDATE #3: Nate Marshall not ready to formally resign as candidate in HD-23 (h/t to Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman). In a diatribe posted on Marshall's website (all CAPS is how it appears on Marshall's site), the candidate says that Jeffco GOP Chair Bill Tucker "[threw] him under the bus":

I AM DONE WITH THE RACE BUT I WILL NOT FILE THE PAPERWORK UNTIL THE JEFFERSON COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY AND COLORADO GOP MAKE AMENDS WITH THE TEAPARTY WHO BETTER REPRESENT CONSERVATIVES THAN RINOS LIKE BILL TUCKER. WE DO NOT NEED SELLOUTS LIKE HAVE INFECTED THE STATE AND COUNTY PARTY! WE NEED TRUE CONSERVATIVES.

BY STATE LAW YOU CANNOT BE REMOVED FROM A BALLOT UNLESS YOU SIGN A NOTARIZED FORM OF WHICH I POSSESS BUT HAVE DECIDED NOT TO FILE. I MAY JUST SIT ON THE DESIGNATION AND GIVE THE SEAT TO THE DEMOCRATS.. IMAGINE IF THEY GET 32-32 AND IN ORDER TO GET THE MAJORITY ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS WELL RESPECT THAT I LEGALLY AND MORALLY HOLD ALL THE CARDS AS I WAS LEGALLY AND CONSTITUTIONALLY DESIGNATED.

I DO NOT WANT TO RUN AND AM NOT BUT AM LEFT WITH LITTLE CHOICE BUT TO PROTECT MYSELF AND FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES BY STANDING UP TO THESE RINO BULLIES AS BEST I CAN.

We'll continue to update this story as it develops.

—–

UPDATE #2: The Colorado Independent confirms big news from Republican Rick Enstrom (who ran in HD-23 in 2012) that Nate Marshall was recruited to run by Tim Neville, the Republican candidate in SD-16 who has been endorsed by RMGO:

Embattled Colorado state House candidate Nathaniel Marshall was reportedly recruited to run for office by state Senate candidate Tim Neville, a prominent Colorado Republican politi

Republican Senate candidate Tim Neville (SD-16)

Republican Senate candidate Tim Neville (SD-16)

cian with close ties to far-right kingmaker Dudley Brown…

…Rick Enstrom, a prominent candy business executive and onetime Republican House candidate, tweeted Wednesday that Marshall told him that he was recruited to run by Neville. Today Enstrom confirmed that assertion in a phone interview.

“I’m not running for anything, and Tim Neville is a friend of mine but, hey, the facts are the facts,” he told the Colorado Independent.

This is a pretty significant twist to how a white supremacist career criminal could become the Republican nominee for House District 23. While Neville may claim that he didn't know about Marshall's past, it's hard to

 

believe that you could have conversations with the guy and not suspect anything strange. Anyone who followed Marshall on Facebook or Twitter would have seen some of this stuff.

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Tim Neville’s Statement Does Not Make Suspicions Of Link Between Him/RMGO And Nathaniel Marshall Unfounded

(Worse and worse – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Colorado Independent has been investigating the circumstances that led to Nathaniel Marshall, a person with significant ties to white supremacism, to enter the race for Colorado HD-23.  As an early result of that investigation, the Independent's John Tomasic reported yesterday that signs had emerged indicating that Tim Neville – a person with significant ties to Rocky Mountain Gun Owner's Association ("RMGO") - recruited Nathaniel Marshall to run for HD-23.  The signs relied on by Tomasic's article consisted of the following:

1) Rick Enstrom, a prominent candy business executive and onetime Republican House candidate, specifically claiming that Marshall admitted he was recruited by Neville at the Jefferson County Assembly ("Enstrom's Statements")

2) Dudley Brown, RMGO's Executive Director, admitting that per RMGO political director Joe Neville, Tim Neville spoke with Marshall at "an event" ("Brown's Statement")

In response to Tomasic's article, Tim Neville last night put forth the following statement on Facebook (accessible here):

"Regarding the leftist hit piece published today posing as a news story in the Colorado Independent:  I spoke with its author John Tomasik [sic] and told him I had no connection with Mr. Marshall's campaign- not as an endorser or financial donor or supporter.   I suggested Mr. Tomasic retract his story because it’s false.  Then he asked me if I ever met Mr. Marshall and I had to explain to him that I meet hundreds of people each week on the campaign trail.  Then he hung up on me.  Shocked?  No, but I'm very disappointed that a Republican like Rick Enstrom would spread such a story without even a phone call to me.  I believe he knows my number, since his campaign had no problem finding me when I helped him as a volunteer to walk his precincts in 2012.     These types of attacks only embolden me to fight even harder for you.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your calls and emails of support tonight.Iron sharpens iron. Together I look forward to taking back Senate District 16 this November and winning a Republican majority.   Game on!" (emphasis added)

While Tim Neville may wish that his mere claim that a story is false is sufficient to demonstrate that a story is in fact false, that is not the case.  Here, there is evidence to indicate that Neville – and through him potentially RMGO – recruited White Supremacist Nathaniel Marshall to run for HD-23.  The first two pieces of evidence are the Enstrom and Brown Statements.  In addition to those statements, last night Nathaniel Marshall revealed that he had been invited to an RMGO fundraiser as a candidate and that now they were throwing him "under the bus".  Moreover, recruiting Nathaniel Marshall would fit within a perceived pattern of RMGO supporting candidates who repeat its party line but who are poorly vetted – the chief example being former pornographic novel writer Jaxine Bubis.

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Gays, God, and Guns…GOP lineup for HD15

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE:  Gordon Klingenschmitt, aka "Dr. Chaps" just received 71% of the delegate votes at the El Paso County Republican Assembly. Dave Williams announced his intent to petition onto the primary ballot, to be held in June. Great opportunity for the Democrat in the race, Lois Fornander, to pick up some moderate ,Independent, and disenchanted Republican votes, whichever one of these two charmers ends up on the November general election ballot.


 

Voters in El Paso County's HD15 will almost certainly elect a Republican. The district was and is 63-30% Republican vs. Democrat , so Democratic representation is not on the menu for HD15.

But which Republican will get the assembly's nomination on March 29?

Will it be bachelor #1, David Williams, known for extreme homophobia, , while simultaneously  giving child sex offenders the benefit of the doubt? Back in  2013, PCG exposed this bully in a series of investigative diaries.  Best quote (after being requested to apologize to gay Republicans): "You know what I'm sorry about? Not buying an AR-15 sooner." Photo and quote from Williams' Facebook page, researched and diaried by PCG

Williams is strongly supported by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, as evidenced by his campaign financial disclosure of January, 2014: $100 from Tim Neville, $2,000 from Rocky Mtn Gun Owners PAC. Most of the remainder of his $37K finances consist of a loan from himself. The other two candidates are also self-financing.

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Further Evidence Of HD-23 Candidate Nate Marshall’s Possible Ties to White Supremacism

POLS UPDATE: Jefferson County Republican Party Chair Bill Tucker demands that Nate Marshall resign as a candidate. From the Denver Post:

The chairman of the Jefferson County Republican party is demanding that candidate Nate Marshall resign after learning he has ties to a white supremacist group and a criminal record.

Marshall, 42, was the only Republican to run during the Jeffco GOP assembly on Saturday for the House seat now held by Rep. Max Tyler, D-Lakewood.

Marshall did not initially respond to the Post for the initial story above, and it may be hard to convince him to get out of the race now. Marshall was nominated by the Jeffco GOP, so as long as he doesn't resign in the next four days, he becomes their candidate in HD-23 by default. We're guessing that a guy with Marshall's background isn't exactly impressed when a county Party official demands a resignation.

—-

Nate Marshall, GOP candidate for HD-23.

Nate Marshall, GOP candidate for HD-23.

Yesterday, Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post raised the possibility that HD-23 Candidate Nate Marshall is involved with White Supremacism.  On March 5, 2014, Nate Marshall filed his Candidate Affidavit to run for HD-23.  That Affidavit lists his Email Address as natemarshall303@gmail.com and his webpage as www.facebook.com/natemarshallpolitics .

Searching for NateMarshall303@gmail.com takes us to this linked post from March 22, 2013 on the white supremacist Stormfront Webpage by user “NateTheWatcher” telling Stormfront users that he is “putting together an event to unite groups in Colorado as well as everywhere on June 15-16. We will have a rally, a general session and breakout sessions to plan several actions involving the political and activism fronts.”  For contact information, NateTheWatcher tells people to contact him via:www.facebook.com/natemarshallpolitics and natemarshall303@gmail.com .  If that information looks familiar, there is a reason for it – it is the same information that Nate Marshall, candidate for HD-23, listed in his candidate affidavit.  On this basis, it appears that Stormfront user NateTheWatcher is HD-23 Candidate Nate Marshall. 

NateTheWatcher (again, very possibly Nate Marshall) has another post on Stormfront date June 13, 2013 that popped up from a simple websearch for the website listed on Nate Marshall’s candidate affidavit.  This post, titled ”The Aryan Revolution.. 40 hours to go!” states:

“The Aryan Revolution begins in just over 40 hours. It is time to rise up and defend our race, heritage, and existence!

I thank and congratulate those of you who have in the past and now and in the future have made the courageous decisions to risk everything for your race.. a one for all and all for one mentality!

We will need to continue to fight hard.. the enemy has wounded us in the past and will again.. but even if we lose some battles we will win the war! MAKE NO MISTAKE WE WILL TRIUMPH!

There can be no doubt to our resolve.. our determination and our total and complete victory! Future generations will treat us as founding fathers of a greater world where once again freedom, equality and justice will prevail for our race! The wrongs of the past will be righted and our race will stand united against our enemies including ideology, parasites and the unwashed, unkept, unethical and pathetic jews!

Join us… give us your time, dedication and what you can sacrifice and we will bring you every dream possible as reality!

Thank you again! “

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Abortion Rights Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Congressman Cory Gardner isn't the only wolf in sheep's clothing on the abortion issue. Extremist Republican candidates routinely attempt to hide their actual agenda regarding abortion rights.

Another recent, albeit lower-profile "evolution" in Weld County is the flip of HD 50 candidate Isaiah Aricayos.

In 2013 Aricayos' website included: "I oppose abortion in all cases except where the life of the mother is in imminent and mortal danger." (Screenshot from July 2013 below the fold.)

But now in March 2014, his website includes only that he believes in the "sanctity of life" and that "life begins at conception." For a lot of voters, what's important isn't that politicians play games to get elected. What's important is what the politicians really think, and what they're going to try to do once they're in office.

So what does Aricayos really think should be our policy?

Well, in January earlier this year, he trumpeted the endorsement of Steve Humphrey, and praised Humphrey's HB 1133. (This screenshot below the fold also, although as of today the post is still up on his Facebook page.) Which is a law to make prescribing anything that aids in an abortion a class three felony. Which means a doctor that prescribes an abortion for a woman who's fetus is badly damaged and would never have a normal life, or a hospital that provides an abortion to an underage rape victim, would be going to jail for four years. Depending on how you read the statute, even a store that sells plan B over the counter or someone who purchased Plan B for a friend who couldn't afford it, would be going to jail for four years, because the statute appears to ban even Plan B, which can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. (Note: an earlier version of this diary did not recognize that the statute is a little ambiguous with respect to whether Plan B would be included in the ban. See the comments.) Or more–four years is the standard minimum sentence for a class three felony.

Don't believe me? Here's the main text of the bill:

"A person shall not knowingly administer to, prescribe for, procure for, or sell to a pregnant mother any medicine, drug, or other substance with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination" [of a pregnancy].

"A person shall not knowingly use or employ any instrument or procedure upon a pregnant mother with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of [the pregnancy].

A violation of this section is a class 3 felony."

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HD-24′s Lesson: It’s Not About You

Kristian Teegardin.

Kristian Teegardin.

We want to take just a moment to revisit a story from last week's Colorado Statesman, wherein lies a moral:

House District 24 Democratic candidate and Edgewater City Councilman Kristian Teegardin is not concerned that a past criminal history for attempting to pass a bad check will hurt him in a divisive primary against Wheat Ridge progressive policy strategist Jessie Danielson, or in the general election if he makes it there.

Teegardin was arrested at 29 years old in 2002 after attempting to pass the bogus check at an urgent care medical facility near where he lived at the time in Bloomington, Ind. He was charged with a misdemeanor for “check deception.”

He failed to make his initial court hearing on Jan. 21, 2003, resulting in a warrant issued for his arrest, according to Monroe County Circuit Court documents obtained by The Colorado Statesman.

He was then arrested on Feb. 2, 2003 in Bloomington, Ind. at 2:38 a.m. after a routine traffic stop revealed the outstanding warrant, according to a Bloomington Police Department arrest report. Teegardin was booked and jailed for the offense. He was also charged with having an expired license plate…

In the days since this story, there's been a bit of consternation about the potential use of this incident against HD-24 Democratic candidate and Edgewater council member Kristian Teegardin–by his Democratic primary opponent, which seems less likely, but more importantly by Republicans in the general election. To be clear, what we're talking about is a misdemeanor charge stemming from a 2002 bad check in Indiana for the sum of $123. The check offered was for medical care at an urgent care clinic, and it's tough to argue with the necessity of medical treatment after a bicycle accident as he claims was the case. Emergency medical care, as our readers know, is a situation that frequently puts consumers in dire financial straits.

The trouble, as seems to be the concern today among Democrats, is that Teegardin's decade old bad check could put an historically safe seat into play in November as a potential Republican pick up. Although HD-24 has been held by Democrats for a long time, the district has similar competitive numbers as Rep. Max Tyler's HD-23–a district where Republicans have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for the past two cycles. With Republicans expected to make a vigorous play for both the Colorado House and Senate this year, any weakness is going to be exploited to the absolute limits of believability–and then some. Any diversion of resources to counter Republican attacks due to an avoidable problem reduces the ability of Democrats to compete in other targeted races. If successfully attacked, a wounded candidate can affect other overlapping and adjacent races.

Again, none of this is intended to make more of this very minor incident than what it is. And it's certainly nothing personal. The problem is that the other side will not be in any way understanding about this, and will exploit it for its maximum strategic value–which affects more than Teegardin. With a viable Democratic candidate already in the race, these are real-world considerations that should render the question academic.

GOP Boots Indifferent Rep. Justin Everett from 2 Committees

Last October the Republican Liberty Caucus of Colorado awarded Jefferson County Republican Rep. Justin Everett with its "Goldwater Award," in recognition of the Colorado elected official who most represents the values of one Barry Goldwater (The RLC of Colorado is so conservative that they recently announced that they won't endorse any of the Republican candidates for Governor).

In announcing their award for Rep. Everett, here's what the RLC of Colorado wrote on their website:

This is not a reward for using “liberty” rhetoric.  The most important lesson an activist can learn is to pay attention to a politician’s votes rather than the words they use.   It takes a principled and diligent legislator to work through this myriad of bad legislation and ensure that he votes consistently for liberty.  In 2013, no one more fulfilled the vision of Barry Goldwater or the words of our Liberty Compact than Representative Justin Everett.

If you ask around you will learn that Justin commits long hours outside of the legislative day to understand these bills.  He serves as a resource for others, both in the chamber and in the public, who want to understand a particular bill.  In this way he is more than one vote in favor of our a principles, he is a leader on their behalf. [Pols emphasis]

Maybe this was all true in 2013. But these days, if you ask about Justin Everett around the Capitol, most people will probably ask you if you've seen him anywhere. Rep. Everett is taking the small government rhetoric to new heights — by doing as little "governing" as possible.

MissingEverett

The smallest government is NO government.

Yesterday, House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso removed Everett from two committees — "Education" and Transportation and Energy" — with little in the way of explanation. DelGrosso replaced Everett on the "Transportation and Energy" committee with Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, but left Republicans with a vacancy on "Education." DelGrosso was so mad at Everett that he asked the Sergeant at Arms to escort Everett out of the committee rooms. (Everett remains a member of the "Public Health Care and Human Services" committee; by statute, legislators must be a member of at least one committee). Here's DelGrosso's statement:

“Representative Everett is dealing with some personal issues and I wanted to give him more time to handle them. He was one of a few of our members who are on three committees, so I decided to remove him from two.Representative Everett remains on the House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee and will be reappointed once the issues are resolved.”

So why such harsh treatment? DelGrosso is apparently fed up with Everett's indifference toward his job, and his willingness to vote against the Republican caucus in favor of whatever the Liberty Caucus demands. Everett is frequently late to, well, everything, and he's completely unprepared when he does show up (and manages to stay awake). Everett sponsored the 2014 version of a bill to ban public employee unions, but in a January hearing he seemed unable to answer basic questions about the legislation, presented no witnesses, and watched as the committee took just 8 minutes to reject the bill outright. A bill to ban public employee unions was never going to get any traction in a Democratic-controlled House, but it's unusual for a sponsor to essentially do nothing to support its cause.

But it's not just committee assignments that Everett has blown off. As you can see in the graphic, Everett has been marked "Absent" in roll call votes a whopping 23 times already this year — once more than the number of "Absent" marks for all other House members combined. A Colorado Pols analysis of House roll call votes shows that Everett has only once been "Present" at least 3 days in a row. At least he's consistent.

Republicans have struggled to convince voters in recent years that they really have Colorado's best interests at heart. This fiasco with Everett is only going to make that impression worse.

Who Is Rep. Libby Szabo Protecting?

libbyszabo

The Denver Post's Anthony Cotton reports on today's passage of a Democratic bill to toughen sentences for child sex offenders:

The reading of a bill designed to create mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of crimes against children advanced Monday in the House, but not before some heated debate between Democrats and Republicans over how closely it hewed to ground-breaking legislation in Florida…

Both bills were heard in the House's State Affairs committee two weeks ago, with the Democratic-controlled group killing Szabo's bill while moving Foote's.

Szabo sought to mirror the Florida law, which includes a 25-year minimum sentence for offenders over the age of 18 as well as a provision that if the person were released early on parole, he or she would have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Foote's bill would stagger sentences that range from 10 to 48 years based on the seriousness of the crime and if it's ruled a class 1, 2 or 3 felony.

The Democrats accused the Republicans of trying to "cut and paste" the Florida law onto the Colorado statutes, adding that Foote's proposed legislation has the support of Lunsford's family. [Pols emphasis]

The passage of a so-called "Jessica's Law," mandating long sentences for sex crimes against children this year, came after a disgusting episode in the last legislative session, where Rep. Libby Szabo, the bill's primary sponsor, accused Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino of "obviously protecting someone" after the 2013 bill died in a House committee. In reality, stakeholders including the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, and victim's advocates like the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault opposed Szabo's bill because Colorado already has very tough sentencing for perpetrators of sex crimes against children. The approach favored by Democrats this year, and still supported by advocates for "Jessica's Law," acknowledges the tough status quo and further strengthens sentencing–within a framework that attempts to make the punishment fit the crime.

But that wasn't enough for Szabo today, who warned darkly:

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