If “Dr. Chaps” Is “Center Right,” We Are All Screwed

FRIDAY UPDATE: We can't explain the Gazette's milquetoast profile (below) of Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt, but reporter Megan Schrader has reported quite a bit of Klingenschmitt's craziness over the last few months–and posted this latest one late yesterday:

Gordon Klingenschmitt, a Colorado Springs state House candidate who has gotten attention from making controversial statements, told three members of the Colorado Springs lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community he would only meet with them after the election and only if his "security staff" screened the attendees first to determine whether or not it would be a "safe meeting."

Who would be unsafe here, exactly? And are we the only ones who consider it a little freaky that a guy like Klingenschmitt has, you know, "security staff?"

—–

Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Gordon Klingenschmitt.

The Colorado Springs Gazette published a profile of the HD-15 race today, which as our readers know is a longshot bid by Democrat Lois Fornander against the winner of the GOP primary to succeed Rep. Mark Waller in this heavily GOP district, Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt. Even before, but especially since winning his primary, Klingenschmitt has made national press for over-the-top extreme views expressed on his Youtube video program–such as his belief that Obamacare "causes cancer," and the FCC is allowing "demonic spirits" to "visually rape your children." Most recently, Klingenschmitt's claim that Rep. Jared Polis was about to "join ISIS in beheading Christians" provoked condemnation from both sides of the aisle–but no push from Republicans for Klingenschmitt to exit the HD-15 race.

From the read of today's Gazette profile, it looks like the plan is now to sanitize Klingenschmitt, not push him out:

The competition for Colorado House of Representatives District 15 features two newcomers who say their opponent is too extreme…

"He does not represent this district," [Fornander] added. "I don't understand how people can support him."

Voter support, however, looks to be in favor of her challenger [Pols emphasis] for the seat now held by Rep. Mark Waller, a Republican who is not seeking re-election.

…Klingenschmitt, an Air Force Academy graduate, believes his views represent the district, which includes eastern Colorado Springs and Peterson Air Force Base.

He believes local control in education, lower taxes and less regulation for businesses and a protection of constitutional rights are the biggest issues in the upcoming election.

"My opponent is far more extreme on the left than I am in the center right," Klingenschmitt said. [Pols emphasis]

The profile does mention in passing Klingenschmitt's remarks about Rep. Polis, but nothing else from the long list of other objectively crazy things "Dr. Chaps" has said on his show. It's very difficult to take Klingenschmitt's claim that he is part of the "center right" seriously if you know the things he very routinely says. But short of a detailed exposure in the media of those statements before the election, it's just as hard to imagine how Lois Fornander can win in a district with more than twice as many registered Republicans as Democrats.

If that's how it plays out, the real disaster for Republicans may be when "Dr." Chaps is sworn in as Representative Chaps next January.

Big Line Updates: Democrats Appear to Have Slight Advantage

As Election Day gets closer and closer, we're updating The Big Line on a weekly basis. Remember: Percentages listed indicate our view of the win/loss outcome only (we are not attempting to guess margin of victory).

You can always access the full Big Line 2014, but below we provide a bit more detail about our thoughts on various races.
 

U.S. SENATE
Mark Udall (62%)
Cory Gardner (38%)
Senator Mark Udall has seen his momentum slow down of late, but that probably has more to do with the natural tightening of this race as October draws near. Public polling in Colorado has become about as reliable as a Ouija Board, though if the final outcome is within the general margin of error of most voter surveys, the data is largely irrelevant anyway. For Congressman Cory Gardner, the one thing that has yet to change remains his biggest problem: He just has too many bad votes on too many important issues. Gardner's campaign also seems to have no idea how to go after Udall effectively; they've been changing tactics like the rest of us change socks.

When all is said and done (or insert cliche of your choice), we always come back to the same question: If you had to gamble everything you had on predicting the winner of this race, would you really choose Gardner?

Neither would we.

 

GOVERNOR
John Hickenlooper (60%)
Bob Beauprez (40%)

This race continues to be one of the stranger contests we can remember because of its relatively low profile. Republican Bob Beauprez hasn't run a particularly strong, or interesting, campaign thus far — but perhaps it's enough to ask that his campaign doesn't crater as completely as it did in 2006. Governor John Hickenlooper, meanwhile, has been largely invisible for the last few months. No matter how you look at the race, it's hard to envision Beauprez actually ending up in the Governor's Mansion.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL
Cynthia Coffman (51%)
Don Quick (49%)
We've had Quick at the top of the Line for a very long time, so what's different? Nothing, really. In fact, it will be hard (post-election) to explain the outcome of this race no matter what happens in November. If this race were taking place in a bubble, we'd give the edge to Quick. But if Democrats win seats for Senate and Governor, history suggests that voters will split their ballot and pick Republicans for other statewide spots.

 

CD-6
Andrew Romanoff (55%)
Mike Coffman (45%)
There may still be a "Coffman" in elected office come January; for the first time in 25 years, we don't think it will be Mike. In their third debate of the campaign, Democrat Andrew Romanoff completely demolished Congressman Mike Coffman. One debate does not a campaign make (or something like that), but the momentum in this race is unmistakably on the side of Romanoff. Coffman's campaign has been insisting that their guy is ahead in internal polling numbers — just don't ask for proof.


Check out the full Big Line 2014 or comment below.

 

Google Dumps ALEC, Crickets In Colorado

google_dont_evil250px

The Center for Media and Democracy claims another huge win in their years-long campaign to persuade American corporations to stop funding the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)–an organization with deep ties to Colorado Republicans that has somehow managed to evade scrutiny in local press even as nationwide controversy rages about the group's improper influence in state legislative policy.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt said Monday that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is "literally lying" that climate change is not a reality, and that its membership in ALEC "was some sort of mistake."

ALEC stated that it is "unfortunate to learn that the company had ended its membership." Over 80 companies have dropped their membership in ALEC since the Center for Media and Democracy launched ALECexposed.org in 2011…

"I'm curious to know if Google is still supporting ALEC," a caller to the show asked, given the group's promotion of climate change denial and Google's purported commitment to environmentalism.

"Um, we funded them as part of a political [campaign] of something unrelated," Schmidt replied. "I think the consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake and so we're trying to not do that in the future…"

"Well, the company has a very strong view that we should make decisions in politics based on facts — what a shock. And the facts of climate change are not in question anymore. Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people — they're just, they're just literally lying." [Pols emphasis]

ALEC has faced growing scrutiny and criticism in recent years, with a nationwide campaign launched against the group in the aftermath of the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin–whose killer escaped justice, drawing attention to a law pushed by ALEC in Florida called "Stand Your Ground." ALEC's role in a broad variety of Republican legislation, from "right to work" schemes to school vouchers and everything in between, has further stoked controversy as stakeholders in many states discover how many bad ideas that have become law began life as ALEC "model legislation."

Here in Colorado, ALEC enjoys what we can only call protection, or at least deference, from a local media which has been convinced for whatever reason that ALEC "isn't a story." That bias in the local press has forestalled coverage of ALEC's large footprint in the Colorado General Assembly, even as protests against ALEC raged across the nation and major corporations renounced their ties to the group. Despite all of that, Republicans in Colorado serve proudly in key ALEC positions, once in awhile dubious ALEC model bills even attract Democratic support–and nobody says anything.

This is something we really think ought to change.

Republican “Study Committee” Heads For The Border (Again)

UPDATE: Bonus round–check out this photo from 2010's "fact-finding tour" and tell us how many guns you see.

ColoGroupBorder
From left: 2010 House candidate Chris Holbert, then-Rep. Kent Lambert, Sen. Scott Renfroe, then-Rep. Laura Bradford, 2010 House candidate Janak Joshi, then-Rep. Randy Baumgardner.

A press release this week from the arch-conservative Republican Study Committee of Colorado, a social club for the more right-leaning among Republican legislators in this state, announces they are taking another field trip to the Mexican border. In 2006 and 2010, both years like 2014 when immigration was in the headlines, a gaggle of Republican elected officials and candidates undertook similar border "fact-finding tours."

The Republican Study Committee of Colorado (RSCC) has planned a fact-finding trip to Texas to gain firsthand knowledge of the situation with respect to U.S. border security in southern Texas. In just a few weeks (October 5-7), Colorado legislators plan to meet with representatives from the Texas State Legislature, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Military Forces (Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, Texas State Guard), and perhaps even some local citizen groups during a brief three-day visit.

"With all of the information and misinformation that we see on the topics of immigration and border security, and what they mean to Colorado citizens, we thought that the best approach would be to go gather some real-time information for ourselves," said RSCC Chairman and State Senator Kevin Lundberg, representing Colorado Senate District 15. 

No taxpayer funds will be used for the trip. 

Republican legislators have a history of traveling to the southern border, having made similar visits in 2006 and again in 2010. For legislators, there have been some things that have changed dramatically, and some that haven't changed much at all. The 2010 trip revealed a porous border, some unsettled locals, increasing criminal activity, and frustrated officials. Local ranchers, veterinarians, and others who used to work regularly with their neighbors on the border had seen a dramatic shift in the nature of activity over the years. 

For some legislators, the place to start is to define just what the issues are. "When people talk about immigration', I think it's important to define what we're talking about. Does that mean Naturalization and citizenship? Does it refer to the movement of labor and capital? Does it refer to national security? Does it refer to criminal activity, particularly in drug, slave or sex trafficking? Does it refer to the availability of entitlement programs? Defining and parsing out the issues is an important place to start before we can craft good policy for Colorado," stated Senator Lundberg.

During their 2010 trip to Arizona, RSCC members were "briefed" on that state's new anti-immigrant law SB-1070 by its principal backer, then-Sen. Russell Pearce. Pearce enjoyed brief popularity for his role in passing SB-1070, but within a few years his political career had completely unraveled. Pearce was ousted from his seat in 2011 is Arizona's first-ever successful recall of a sitting legislator. Then just this week, Pearce resigned as vice chairman of Arizona Republican Party after saying this on a local radio show:

"You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I'd do is get [female recipients] Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations,” Pearce said, according to the Phoenix New Times. “Then, we’ll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job."

We assume the RSCC will not be meeting with Mr. Pearce during their trip to the Texas border. With that said, RSCC members who took the trip to see Pearce in 2010 introduced numerous pieces of legislation the following year–both mimicking Arizona's SB-1070 anti-immigrant law, along with other ideas they had heard about on their "fact-finding tour." In the summer of 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down most of SB-1070 as unconstitutional in the landmark case of Arizona vs. United States.

And of course, in the fall of 2012, Democrats retook the Colorado House from the GOP, crushing that party's single-seat, single-term majority in the one chamber they had managed to wrest control of in 2010–and helping lock down what has been the state of affairs in the General Assembly for going on a decade. Immigration wasn't the only factor in the GOP's significant legislative defeats in Colorado last election, but we can safely say that the Colorado GOP's image was not helped by the RSCC's antics in any way. Whatever disappointment Latino voters feel with Democrats for being unable to pass immigration reform, this is the stuff that reminds America's fastest growing bloc of voters who their enemies are in the starkest possible terms.

So, you know, take lots of pictures in Texas.

Pueblo Chieftain Smears “Bo” Ortiz for Political Revenge

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Poor Bo. He just can't catch a break from the Pueblo Chieftain.  To inform the public,  Gilbert "Bo" Ortiz voluntarily advised the Pueblo Chieftain about  faulty driver's licenses distributed by  a Colorado Revenue Department vendor, MorphoTrust. The state IDs and licenses were supposed to have a black band across the top, identifying those ineligible to vote, but 524 of these IDs were sent out without the flag. 

The Chieftain chose  to run the ID story on page one, next to a photo of Ortiz, with the banner headline, "Faulty ID Cards Issued", on September 16, 2014. . The teaser subheading on the online edition read, "No concern for voter fraud." Who issued the faulty IDs? Who is unconcerned about voter fraud?  Judging by his photo under the headline, a reasonable reader would infer: Gilbert "Bo" Ortiz.

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Big Line Updates: Udall, Romanoff Growing Lead

As Election Day gets closer and closer, we'll be updating The Big Line on a weekly basis.

Here's what we're currently thinking as to the main movers in the top races in Colorado:

U.S. SENATE
Mark Udall (65%)
Cory Gardner (35%)

We don't see either Udall or Gov. John Hickelooper losing in November, but for the first time, we have Udall as a slightly bigger favorite in his respective race. Gardner's campaign has been an absolute mess, and national politicos and reporters are coalescing around the idea that Udall is in the driver's seat now.

 

GOVERNOR
John Hickenlooper (60%)
Bob Beauprez (40%)

We have this race tightening a little as Gov. Hickenlooper works his way out of a summer-long campaign funk. For Beauprez, this comes down to a lack of time — too much needs to happen in the next 4-6 weeks for Beauprez to have a realistic shot at knocking off Hickenlooper.
 

ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE TREASURER, SECRETARY OF STATE
Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton has not had a good month, but he's still favored to beat Democrat Betsy Markey. Meanwhile, we have the AG and SOS races as toss-ups at this point, primarily because it's difficult to determine whether any of the candidates can do much to control their own destiny; the amount of money pouring into the races for Senate, Governor, and CD-6 will make it nigh impossible for lower-tier statewide candidates to get their message out.
 

CD-6 (Aurora-ish)
Andrew Romanoff (55%)
Mike Coffman (45%)

We wrote earlier about our belief that Countdown Coffman is underway following incumbent Rep. Coffman's boorish behavior of late. We've been hearing consistent buzz that Romanoff has nudged ahead as Coffman seeks the momentum he needs to prevent a complete collapse.
 


Check out the full Big Line 2014 or comment below.

Republicans Need Down-Ballot Miracle in Jefferson County

We've talked plenty in this space of the inconceivably ridiculous problems that Jefferson County Republicans have brought upon themselves and the rest of the GOP ticket this fall. Problems began long before the June 24 Primary Election, but things have only gotten worse since Tea Party favorites Tony Sanchez (SD-22) and Laura Waters Woods (SD-19) won their respective Primary races for the GOP nomination.

Jefferson County Republicans have had trouble recruiting strong candidates in the most important electoral county in the state, and they've even had trouble just convening a vacancy committee before the deadlines outlined in state statute. There's little dispute that Jefferson County will decide the outcome of Colorado's statewide races — as goes Jeffco, so goes Colorado — and a continued poor showing by GOP legislative candidates coupled with community anger at the Jeffco School Board could have a lasting effect in November. Fundraising figures don't provide a complete picture of the problems facing Jeffco candidates, but the comparisons are telling. Take a look at the chart below:

There are a handful of legislative races in Jefferson County that we are not including here, primarily because they are not really competitive seats for one Party or the other (HD-22, safe GOP seat; HD-24, safe Dem seat).

Taking into account the theoretically competitive Senate and House races, seven Democrats have raised $871,173 through the most recent — and final — quarterly fundraising period of 2014. Republicans, meanwhile, have raised about $272,406 — or about one-third the amount brought in by Jeffco Democrats.

In both HD-23 and HD-29, Republican candidates were late entrants after the first batch of GOP candidates were scrubbed from the ballot. Replacement candidates Jane Barnes and Susan Kochevar, respectively, have done very little in terms of raising money.

On the Senate side, Republican Primary winners Laura Waters Woods (SD-19) and Tony Sanchez (SD-22) have been less-than-impressive in their own fundraising efforts

While the outcomes of these Jeffco legislative races may not end up changing the makeup of either the State House or State Senate, the margins of defeat could have major repercussions for top-ballot candidates such as Bob Beauprez and Cory Gardner. If the races for Governor and U.S. Senate come down to Jefferson County voters, a weak stable of legislative candidates could spell D-O-O-M.

 

 

One Of The Weirdest Campaign Videos Ever Made

Michael Schlierf.

Michael Schlierf.

​Here's a fact we've learned in our nearly ten years of blogging politics: the annals of Youtube-era failed campaigns are filled with bad candidate videos. One of our favorite producers was 2010 Tennessee GOP gubernatorial candidate Basil Marceaux, whose wacky, drawling speechifications went viral out of sheer laughability–of which dear Basil may or may not have ever been aware.

Here in Colorado this election year, a campaign video has recently surfaced that might give Basil a run for his money. Michael Schlierf, the Republican Colorado House candidate in HD-18 running against incumbent Democrat Pete Lee, released this message yesterday. We don't mind telling you we're a bit fascinated by it, in that can't-take-your-eyes-off-the-car-crash sort of way:

Here are some frames from the video that help capture the beguiling je ne sais quoi of our narrator:

schlierflady

​The woman speaking is never identified. We set out originally hoping to transcribe her remarks, but about midway through we realized it's just too damn loopy–you've got to watch the whole thing to see how strange it it is. We would call it standard Tea Party boilerplate, but it's more than that: the Tea Party on quaaludes? At one point the woman says that public schools are nothing more than "social service delivery programs," but that's not our favorite line. Maybe the best in a message chock full of zoned-out punchlines:

We are in a fight for our national existence. As citizens of this state, we are in a fight for our liberty. And as Republicans, are we not in a fight for relevance? [Pols emphasis]

Short answer: yes. And this video…doesn't help.

AFL-CIO LAUNCHES KOCH SISTERS CAMPAIGN

This morning the AFL-CIO launched a campaign to target the Koch brothers called the Koch Sisters. The campaign features the Koch sisters, two middle class women from union families who are a stark contrast to the right wing Koch brothers. The ads highlight the conversation around how these billionaires are influencing our politics for the worse.

The AFL-CIO would like to encourage you to check out the website and ads as well as to share news stories via social media.  

Website: http://www.kochsisters.org

30-second ad, which will begin airing today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7BbC5V8BAU

Link to the 60-second spot featured on the website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DXCAsqkecs

CD3, CD4, Governor, US Senate, Pueblo Candidate Debates Scheduled

Action-22 is partnering with news and political organizations to sponsor debates between the Republican and Democratic candidates for CD3 and for CD4. More debates, including those for Attorney General and  Board of Education candidates,  are in the process of being confirmed.  Pueblo Candidates will debate in Pueblo from September 9 to September 11. The forums will be telecast live.  All forums will be rebroadcast on Comcast Channel 19 in October. Watch this post for updates. 

CD4  (Vic Meyers vs. Ken Buck) debate will be held September 13, 2014, 1 pm in McBride Hall at Otero Junior College in La Junta. More information, and a map for the location can be accessed with this link.  Steve Henson, Managing Editor of the Pueblo Chieftain, will moderate.

CD3 candidates (Abel Tapia and Scott Tipton) are scheduled to debate on October 7 at Pueblo Memorial Hall, 1 City Hall Place, Pueblo, CO 81003 Ph: 719-542-1100.

UPDATE: Abel Tapia  and Scott Tipton will also debate in Grand Junction for the  2014 CLUB 20 Fall Meeting and Candidtate Debates September 5th and 6th.

When: Friday, September 5th and Saturday, September 6th

Where: Two Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main St. Grand Junction, CO 81501 Call 970-242-3264

UPDATE II At the same Grand Junction Club 20 venue, AARP is  sponsoring evening debates between the Gubernatorial candidates, John Hickenlooper and Bob Beauprez, as well as Udall and Gardner for US Senate. 

Complete agenda with schedule for all Club 20 / AARP debates is here.

 

Pueblo Candidate Debates sponsored by Action22 and the Pueblo Chieftain, and are also publicized by League of Women Voters (Vote411)

All of the Pueblo debates will be held at the Pueblo Memorial Hall, 1 City Hall Pl,  Pueblo  Colorado  81003 Tuesday, 9/9 /14 through Thursday, 9/11/14

9/9: Pueblo County Coroner  and Sheriff Candidates will debate at 6:00 pm.

9/10: Pueblo County Commissioner candidates  Sal Pace and Thomas Ready will debate at 6:00 pm. 

9/10: Pueblo Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Ortiz will debate Victor Head at 7:00 – 7:55 pm.

9/11: House District 47 (Lucretia Robinson vs. Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff) will be held from 6:00- 6:55 

9/11: House District 46 (Daneya Esgar vs. Brian Mater) will be held from 7:00- 7:55 

9/11: Senate District 3 (Leroy Garcia vs. George Rivera) will be held from 8:00- 8:55 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Dr. Chaps” Loves Cory Gardner’s Life At Conception Act

Cory Gardner, Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Cory Gardner, Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Yesterday saw a new lengthy email missive from Republican HD-15 nominee Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt, whose wild rhetoric before and after winning the Republican primary to succeed former House Minority Leader Mark Waller has been making national headlines. Klingenschmitt's recent suggestion that openly gay Rep. Jared Polis was ready to start "beheading Christians" "in America" led to calls by Democrats for Klingenschmitt to withdraw from the HD-15 race–a call that tellingly was not picked up by Republicans like Waller or the chairman of the EL Paso County GOP.

In Klingenschmitt's latest email blast, there's no reference to Democrats beheading Christians. But while trying to watch what he says, "Dr. Chaps" still manages to leave his fellow Republicans in the hot seat:

Let's petition Congress to pass the "Life Begins at Conception Act."

Urgent Petition! Sign petition for "Life Begins at Conception" Act S.583 w/ Sen. Rand Paul. Select, sign, and WE WILL FAX your petition to all 100 Senators and 435 Congressmen instantly (saving you time!) Or select free option to Amend S.583 here.

Sen. Rand Paul's "Life Begins at Conception Act." Can it stop abortion?

The U.S. Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul (R) has introduced the "Life Begins At Conception Act" Senate Bill S. 583, which is modeled after "Personhood" legislation we supported in ballot initiatives in Mississippi, Colorado, and Florida. [Pols emphasis]

The pro-life legislation simply applies the protections of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to unborn children, by defining them as "persons." Personhood is a legal strategy that can potentially overturn Roe v. Wade and stop the abortion holocaust in America, as predicted by Justice Blackmun who wrote the 1973 ruling: "If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment."

S. 583, Sen. Rand Paul's Life at Conception Act, is the Senate's companion measure to H.R. 1091, the Life at Conception Act co-sponsored by…yes, that's right, U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner! As our readers know, Gardner's campaign has claimed that H.R. 1091 does not have the same effect as the Personhood abortion bans that Gardner disavowed support for right after jumping in the Senate race. Factcheck.org and experts on the issue have responded that Gardner's distinction between the Colorado Personhood initiatives and the federal Life at Conception Act is bogus–the same language conferring rights to a fetus from "the moment of fertilization" in both proposals is what would have the effect of banning all abortions even in cases of rape or incest, as well as certain forms of so-called "abortifacient" birth control. Gardner has not responded anywhere that we've found to Factcheck.org's debunking of this key claim, presumably because, as we've explored at length, there is no good response.

And as you can see, "Dr. Chaps" agrees! Though we doubt Gardner will appreciate the clarification.

Klingenschmitt : ENDA Allows Bathroom-lurking Demons to Rape Females

(The "Dr. Chaps" crazy train rolls on – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Most people do not go into a public bathroom worrying about the history or habits of the person in the next stall. Most people use bathrooms for the usual purposes, and move on with their lives. Not Gordon Klingenschmitt, House District 15 candidate. Mr. Klingenschmitt seems to be obsessed with the demons lurking in bathrooms.

In yet another of Klingenschmitt's jaw-dropping videos, Gordon Klingenschmitt, Republican candidate for House District 15 in El Paso County, Colorado, claimed that ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) will provide an opportunity for demonic aliens to sexually assault females in bathrooms nationwide.

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Mark Waller: Chaps Is Nuts, But “Legislative Majorities Matter”

UPDATE: Democratic Secretary of State candidate Joe Neguse calls on Republican opponent El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams to return a campaign donation from Gordon Klingenschmitt:

Secretary of State candidate Wayne Williams' campaign finance reports show he accepted a campaign donation from Gordon Klingenschmitt, the Republican State House candidate who recently compared Congressman Jared Polis to a terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. Many prominent Republicans have denounced his controversial statements, including Colorado GOP Chairman, Ryan Call.  Despite that, the El Paso County Republican Party, which Williams once chaired, is standing with Klingenschmitt. 

In response, Joe Neguse's campaign manager Elisabeth Mabus released the following statement, "Colorado needs a Secretary of State who will stand up for all Coloradans.  We call on Williams to return the money, publicly reject the hate filled speech and agenda of Gordon, and oppose his candidacy for the State House.  A radical like Klingenschmitt has no place in our state legislature."

—–

Rep. Mark Waller, Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Rep. Mark Waller, Gordon Klingenschmitt.

As Vic Vela at Colorado Community Media reports, Rep. Mark Waller, the outgoing Republican representative for Colorado House District 15 in Colorado Springs, has finally broken his silence about his nominated successor Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt. Ever since Klingenschmitt won the HD-15 primary and especially since his latest over-the-top attack on Democratic Rep. Jared Polis last weekend, we've been waiting eagerly to hear what Rep. Waller has to say about the man his party has chosen to succeed him.

Waller's message to HD-15? Hold your nose and vote for "Dr. Chaps."

"Democrats like Polis want to bankrupt Christians who refuse to worship and endorse his sodomy," [Klingenschmitt] wrote. "Next he'll join ISIS in beheading Christians, but not just in Syria, right here in America."

Waller said his "11-year-old son can identify that as a hateful speech."

"I think it was horribly inappropriate to say," Waller said. "It doesn't matter if he's a person running for state representative or a person on the street. I think it's terrible to say.

"Obviously, he does not speak for me or the Republican Party."

Waller hasn't endorsed Klingenschmitt, but he wouldn't go as far as saying that he should drop out of the race – as Klingenschmitt's opponent, Democrat Lois Fornander has.

"If you're not voting for him, you're voting for the Democrat and quite honestly legislative majorities matter," Waller said. [Pols emphasis] "But that puts (House District 15 voters) in a rock and a hard place in terms of who to vote for."

We'll give Waller credit for at least acknowledging what Klingenschmitt said is not appropriate. That's better than the chairman of the El Paso County Republican Party Jeffrey Hays, who flat-out told reporters that Klingenschmitt "is part of our team" and that he "represents a whole host of views the Republican Party will have." But the bottom line seems little different–"legislative majorities matter." There's nothing in this statement that will encourage "Chaps" to do something smart for his party (not to mention morally) like withdraw from this race, and alongside with Hays' explicit support, Mark Waller appears to be giving tacit clearance for the Republican faithful in HD-15 to vote for Gordon Klingenschmitt.

House District 15 is heavily Republican and Klingenschmitt is still favored to win, in spite of his recent comments.

Because this is a solidly Republican district, it has never been a serious component of Democratic House strategy–and if it were to fall to a Democrat this year due to Klingenschmitt's implosion, the GOP would almost certainly retake the seat in 2016. If anything, that makes it doubly strange that local Republicans are so reluctant to speak out against Klingenschmitt. Is it because Klingenschmitt could damage other Republicans on his way down, like friend and political associate Sen. Bernie Herpin? Or could it be that "Dr. Chaps'" extreme rhetoric just doesn't upset social conservatives all that much?

In terms of damage outside HD-15, the latter seems like the bigger problem.

Sorry, Ryan Call: El Paso County GOP Stands By “Dr. Chaps”

UPDATE: In a statement earlier today, Democratic CD-5 candidate Irv Halter calls on Rep. Doug Lamborn to condemn Gordon Klingenschmitt's remarks:

“Gordon Klingenschmitt offended Coloradans from both parties and all walks of life with his offensive and out of touch comment comparing a U.S. Congressman to ISIS,” said Halter.  “His statement shows that he has no interest in being a leader in El Paso County who will attract businesses to our region.  Instead, it is clear that he will be an embarrassment.  I also believe his so-called apology was less than adequate from someone who purports to be a man of character who, like me, graduated from the Air Force Academy.  I ask Congressman Lamborn, who has appeared on Klingenschmitt’s online show, to join me in condemning his remarks as inappropriate for political discourse and insulting to our U.S. Congress.”

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Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call, GOP HD-15 nominee Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call, GOP HD-15 nominee Gordon Klingenschmitt.

KOAA-TV's Greg Dingrando reports, the El Paso County Republican Party is standing up for embattled Colorado House candidate Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt in the wake of his outlandish attack on Rep. Jared Polis last weekend, suggesting that Polis would "join ISIS in beheading Christians" for…actually, it doesn't really matter why he thought that statement was justifiable.

Reports KOAA-TV, local Republicans who know "Dr. Chaps" best are standing by him:

"Democrats like Polis want to bankrupt Christians who refuse to worship and endorse his sodomy. Next he'll join ISIS in beheading Christians…" said Klingenschmitt.

It's a comment that has Democrats shocked and appalled yet county Republicans are still defending him…

The Colorado State Republicans are denouncing him from the party, but El Paso County Republicans are standing by him. [Pols emphasis]

"He's part of our team. Whether we agree with him or disagree with him," said El Paso County Republican Chairman Jeffrey Hays…

"They're using that as a smoke screen to get people's attention away from their bad policies of a constant effort to control people," said Hays.

He said it's a smoke screen Republicans aren't afraid to fight right along side Klingenschmitt.

"I want to win. I believe in value of us winning. He represents a whole host of views the Republican Party will have [Pols emphasis] so absolutely we want him to win," said Hays.

While we pick our jaws up off the floor, read again from our friends at Right Wing Watch:

Just let that sink in: a man who thinks that "Obamacare causes cancer," that the Bible commands people to own guns in order to "defend themselves against left wing crazies," and that the FCC is allowing demonic spirits to "molest and visually rape your children" is now a Republican candidate for office. [Pols emphasis]

Not just a candidate, the GOP's primary election winner to succeed Rep. Mark Waller in HD-15. A candidate who, in the view of El Paso County GOP Chairman Jeffrey Hays, "represents a whole host of views the Republican Party will have." We haven't heard from other local political figures close to Klingenschmitt, like Sen. Bernie Herpin, but at some point a lack of condemnation is reasonably tantamount to support–especially as the story blows up nationally. In any event, we should be able to accept the word of the county GOP chairman as official.

Right?

Last Monday, Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call sort-of denounced Klingenschmitt's comments, while making it clear that he wasn't going to let those conniving Democrats turn this into another "Todd Akin" situation–you know, "trying to brand all Republicans." Because obviously, "his views do not reflect my personal position or" (this is the important part) "the position of the party." This isn't the first time that Call has had to condemn a Republican elected official's indefensible remarks (see: Marble, Vicki and Saine, Lori), but it seemed for a moment like he was working from a better prepared script.

Ryan Call, call your office.

“Dr. Chaps’” Opponent Calls For Withdrawal From HD-15 Race

UPDATE: The Washington Post's Abby Ohlheiser keeps the national spotlight on "Dr. Chaps":

A Republican nominee for a Colorado statehouse seat responded to criticism on Monday over his claim that U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) would “join ISIS in beheading Christians.”

Gordon Klingenschmitt, a longtime conservative figure in the state, said in the video embedded below that the statement e-mailed to supporters was just “hyperbole” and that “some Democrats do not have a sense of humor” before offering up an apology to Polis…

In his apology video, Klingenschmitt maintained that he thought policies supported by Polis would “persecute” Christian business owners in the state, adding: “I would never compare you to the ISIS rebels who behead Christians, right? Of course, you would never go in for something like that.”

The state Republican party distanced itself from Klingenschmitt’s remarks, and not for the first time…

Meanwhile, local progressives join the call for Klingenschmitt to withdraw from the HD-15 race:

"Gordon Klingenschmitt's extreme homophobic slurs have no place in any civil discussion of American politics," said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. "There is absolutely nothing that can justify these outlandish statements, certainly nothing in Rep. Jared Polis' record of fighting for equality for all Americans."

"Like it or not, Klingenschmitt is the Republican Party's nominee for Colorado House District 15," said Runyon-Harms. "His extreme rhetoric dishonors not just the Republican Party, but other Republican politicians who have endorsed his campaign either directly or indirectly. Sen. Bernie Herpin, who invited Klingenschmitt to deliver a prayer at his recall victory party, should disavow Klingenschmitt–or explain why he will not."

"For years, Colorado conservatives have turned a blind eye to irresponsible extremism," said Runyon-Harms. "Now, one of their worst offenders is receiving national attention just before a major election. Is Gordon Klingenschmitt the new face of the Colorado Republican Party? If Klingenschmitt refuses to withdraw, and his Republican colleagues refuse to ask him to do so, he must be."

—–

Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Gordon Klingenschmitt.

​As the Colorado Springs Gazette's Megan Schrader reports, the story of GOP HD-15 nominee Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt, whose every pronouncement since winning his Colorado House primary has been an absolute disaster for the Republican brand. They were before, of course, but now he's official. Klingenschmitt's Democratic opponent Lois Fornander is now calling for "Dr. Chaps" to pull out of the race:

Lois Fornander is calling for her opponent for the state House of Representatives to withdraw from the election after what she calls "a homophobic attack on Congressman Jared Polis."

Fornander, a Democrat, is set to face Republican Gordon Klingenschmitt in November for the eastern Colorado Springs and El Paso County House District 15 seat…

"Such a statement is far beyond 'hyperbole,' it is inflammatory, irresponsible and repulsive," said Fornander in an email. "Klingenschmitt's attempt to pass off this reference to an ISIS beheading as an attempt at humor is not only disingenuous, it's perverse."

It's interesting to see Fornander call for Klingenschmitt to exit the race, since arguably "Dr. Chaps" represents Fornanders best shot at actually winning the safe Republican HD-15 seat this November. We assume that Fornander and those advising her have considered this, and simply concluded that calling for Klingenschmitt to withdraw from the HD-15 race is the altruistically right thing to do.

On the other hand, there's really nothing that Fornander or Republicans can do to force Klingenschmitt out. As we learned when Rep. Jared Wright's campaign in 2012 went off the rails, leading to not-so-subtle attempts by fellow Republicans to get him out of the HD-54 race, safe Republican seats like HD-15 leave candidates with little to fear no matter what they say or do–within reason, of course, but neither Wright's embarrassing career and financial troubles nor Klingenschmitt's penchant for bug-eyed insanity appear to rise to the proverbial level.

And that could be a problem for Republicans in more than just this one House seat. The next logical step in the Klingenschmitt story, which hasn't been anywhere near fully developed, is his close ties to GOP SD-11 Senator Bernie Herpin. Herpin's recall victory last yearover Sen. John Morse in a district that leans Democratic has made him a major target this year. Herpin's ties to Klingenschmitt include a genuine "Dr. Chaps" prayer at Herpin's victory party, and the subsequent endorsement of Klingenschmitt's House campaign by Herpin's Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition.

Even before this latest, there was a vast wealth of "Dr. Chaps" lunacy on video to make Herpin dearly regret it.