Rep. Joshi Takes The Gloves Off To Outlast Larry Liston

As ballots arrive in Colorado mailboxes for the June 28th primary election, the Republican HD-16 primary between incumbent Rep. Janak Joshi and former Rep. Larry Liston in Colorado Springs is getting nastier by the minute–with the latest volley from Joshi, unleashing a lengthy radio spot slamming Liston’s “RINO” record in the state legislature:

Ouch! Not what any Republican primary candidate in a safely red district wants on the radio. The spot directs to Joshi’s new website


We’re actually very interested in seeing how this primary resolves. Janak Joshi, an arch-conservative ex-doctor from Ahmadabad, India who was forced to surrender his medical license before running for office, has the local party grassroots faithful in his back pocket–and in El Paso County that means he has placated, objectively speaking, the craziest of the crazies. On the other hand, Liston is a conservative Republican who has occasionally crossed over to move bipartisan priorities like the state’s “Amycare” health insurance exchange–a showing of reasonableness that the GOP grassroots more or less views as treasonable.

Which makes the GOP HD-16 primary a bellwether for how reasonable Colorado Republicans will be…in 2017.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (June 7)

Get More SmarterIs it really over? Finally? It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► We all know about the perceived benefits to being one of the first states in the country to cast a vote for President, but what if you’re among the last? Voters in California, New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota (Democrats only) and South Dakota will get to play Presidential Primary today, but it won’t matter much. Donald Trump has long since clinched the Republican Presidential nomination, and according to the Associated Press and CNN, the Democratic nomination is now in hand for Hillary Clinton. 

Sorry, California, but it could be worse; Democrats in the District of Columbia will cast primary votes next Tuesday (June 14) in a final gasp of irrelevance before attention shifts to the national party conventions in July.


► Registered Democrats and Republicans should start receiving mail ballots this week in advance of the June 28th Primary election. For more information on checking your registration or address status, or if you just like reading about elections, visit


► The Denver Post continues its weeklong look at the five Republican candidates seeking their Party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate. Today’s focus is on Ryan Frazier:

Frazier, 38, is one of five GOP candidates seeking to win the nomination to take on incumbent and well-funded Democrat Michael Bennet in November. Not so long ago, Frazier, was pegged as the “it” guy in Republican politics. He was young, successful, black and charismatic and wasn’t afraid to take a stand on some moderate social issues that didn’t necessarily align with his political party.

Big things were expected from him.

But Frazier’s arrow is pointing down these days, and how successful he is in this race could be key to his political future, observers say.

Frazier tries lamely to message his political past by saying he is “3-2” as a candidate for office. Of course, both losses came back-to-back in 2010 and 2011 — and both were double-digit blowouts.


► All five Republican Senate candidates are scheduled to take part in two high-profile debates this week, beginning tonight on 9News and again on Wednesday evening in Colorado Springs (hosted by the Gazette newspaper). We’ll be following both debates here on Colorado Pols, so check back often.


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Get More Smarter on Monday (June 6)

Get More SmarterToday is the 72nd Anniversary of D-Day; kids, ask your parents or the History Channel. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► The ballots are coming! The ballots are coming! Registered Democrats and Republicans should start receiving mail ballots this week in advance of the June 28th Primary election. For more information on checking your registration or address status, or if you just like reading about elections, visit


► California, here we come! On Tuesday, six states will cast votes (or do the caucus thing) in the Presidential race, but none more important than delegate-rich California. As Politico reports, Bernie Sanders is making his last stand in his fight to overtake Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, even if he isn’t willing to admit as much:

Barring a set of unprecedented upsets on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton is expected to be declared the presumptive Democratic nominee. And when the television networks make that call as soon as New Jersey polls close on June 7, it will leave Bernie Sanders with a hard choice: whether to directly acknowledge it or intensify his fight to the July convention in Philadelphia…

…A win in California, his top advisers believe, will enable Sanders to make a much more aggressive pitch to superdelegates and Democrats around the country in the coming weeks. He will be able to point to victories over Clinton in more than 20 states — capped by the biggest, bluest and most diverse in the nation. The symbolic value of winning California, they think, would underscore his point that the future of the party is on his side and rattle superdelegate confidence in her candidacy.

A loss, however, would dismantle that argument. The Sanders camp believes a defeat there would take the wind out of his sails, in no small part because of the negative media narrative that would result after having spent so much time in the state.

In addition to California and New Jersey, voters will pick favorites in Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota (Democrats only) and South Dakota.


► With ballots on their way, things are really starting to heat up in the race for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. The Denver Post is profiling each of the 5 Republican candidates this week, starting with today’s piece on Robert Blaha. There are two high-profile GOP debates this week: Tuesday evening on 9News, and Wednesday evening in Colorado Springs hosted by the Gazette newspaper.

Also today, Ryan Frazier debuts his zombie-themed TV ad, which Colorado Statesman reporter Ernest Luning reports includes a $100k buyJack Graham has added another $250k to his TV buy, raising the total to about $700k. Blaha has been on TV with an ad buy that his campaign will not disclose, and even Darryl Glenn could be getting his mug on the idiot box pretty soon.

The editorial board of the Denver Post isn’t particularly happy about Jon Keyser’s TV ad, which has been widely panned by media outlets for its blatant lies. As the Post explains in its editorial diss:

But it’s one thing to contend the agreement plays into Iran’s hands and quite another to flatly insist the senator wants to arm the repressive Islamic regime with weapons of mass destruction. Bennet no more wants to see that than Keyser. The claim is not only offensive, it’s preposterous. And Keyser doesn’t have license to throw wild accusations around regarding Iran because he did the noble work of fighting its proxies. [Pols emphasis]

If you haven’t seen the ad yourself, it’s not because you haven’t been watching enough TV; you’d have a hard time catching it since the Keyser campaign only submitted a $5,000 ad buy (which gets him about 49 total spots). According to Luning at the Statesman, however, Keyser’s campaign has spent an additional $100k to extend this already horrible TV spot. If politics were poker, Keyser just went all-in with a deuce and a nine.


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Because What This Election Needs Is MORE Reality TV!

Close enough.

Same diff.

You have to dig through a slew of entertainment pseudo-media stories to find legitimate coverage of the rumors that reality TV star Ben Higgins of The Bachelor fame is considering a run for the Colorado House of Representatives, as a conservative Republican in the heavily Democratic district now represented by House Speaker pro tem Dan Pabon. here’s what the Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning reports:

Higgins, 28, has been meeting GOP power brokers in the district this week, accompanied by political consultant Dustin Olson, founder of Olson Strategies, and so far he’s made strongly favorable impressions.

That’s according to Willie Pinkston, a business consultant and the current Republican candidate for the heavily Democratic seat. Pinkston, Denver Republicans say, plans to step aside and let the HD 4 vacancy committee nominate Higgins to challenge Pabon.

“I am very impressed with Ben,” Pinkston wrote in an email obtained by The Colorado Statesman. “Super great guy. I think he would be a very strong HD4 candidate and will support him.”

Pinkston added, “We have to continue to keep this a secret because it’s not official yet and Dustin wants to make sure the press doesn’t catch wind of anything.”

trumphigginsSo much for that! Rumors of the hunky devout Christian no-longer-a-Bachelor tipping his toe into politics via a seat in the Colorado state legislature are now the buzz of the celebrity gossip world. One a scale of 1 to 10, one being your neighbor’s pedestrian sex life and 10 being a Kardashian family member actually doing something newsworthy, this is like a six or seven easy. And that means it’s the biggest thing in terms of global eyeballs reading about Colorado politics since…well, there is Jon Keyser’s self-immolation. But you get the idea.

Once the glitz wears off a little, though, this doesn’t look at all like a winning formula. By all accounts Higgins is a social conservative Republican about as far from a good fit for urban and diverse west Denver’s House District 4 as you can get. There seems to be some presumption that the incumbent Rep. Dan Pabon is vulnerable after to his DUI arrest earlier this year in downtown Denver, but there have been no complicating factors a la Laura Bradford’s legislative immunity scandal to aggravate that incident beyond something his constituents would forgive. Especially if they get a whiff of what the hunky (and taken) reality TV star actually stands for.

On the other hand, maybe the Trump/Higgins “reality TV ticket” is some kind of magic we can’t foresee?

Something tells us Higgins shouldn’t use that.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 31)

Get More SmarterWelcome to the last day of May. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).


► Just how rich is Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump? As Politico found out, the answer depends on the skill level of your accountant.


► Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser continues to have legal troubles surrounding his apparently fraudulent attempt to qualify for the June 28th Primary ballot. As Marshall Zelinger reports for Denver7:

Forged petition signatures uncovered by Denver7 has led three voters to sue the Secretary of State.

The lawsuit filed in Denver District Court [Friday] asks for a finding that Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser did not have enough valid signatures to qualify for the June 28 mail-in primary election.

“This lawsuit exists because, frankly, the media and Channel 7 and you have brought to the floor, a practice that probably has existed before, but never really been documented,” attorney Mark Grueskin told Denver7 Political Reporter Marshall Zelinger.

A Denver district court judge is expected to hear opening arguments in the case this afternoon.


► Republican candidates for U.S. Senate are starting to flash their mugs on camera in TV ads around the state. If you are at all familiar with the Keyser campaign, you won’t be surprised by his first ad. As John Frank reports for the Denver Post, Keyser’s first TV spot strikes a familiar tone but is lacking in accuracy:

Whether his assertions pass the truth test is another question. PolitiFact, a prominent fact-checking outlet, recently gave a False ruling to a U.S. Senate candidate in Florida who said the deal “allows Iran to produce a nuclear weapon.” The wording in Keyser’s ad goes even further. (He was recently rebuked for a different false claim regarding Guantanamo Bay detainees.)

The Keyser campaign said it bought statewide air time through the primary but declined to disclose the size of the TV buy. [Pols emphasis]

Without the details, it’s unclear how many people will hear the message and whether it will make an impact in the race. Through April 30, Keyser only had $200,000 in the bank. though he’s courtedhigh-dollar donors in recent weeks.

With Blaha and Graham on the air with their own TV ads, Keyser’s campaign certainly felt pressure to join the club so that they could claim to be “one of three” candidates on the air. But the campaign’s refusal to disclose the size of the TV buy is a big red flag for any Keyser supporters. When Graham announced his first TV ad, his campaign included the fact that $450,000 was spent on a statewide ad blitz; this is a pretty standard practice, and declining to talk numbers usually means that you don’t have impressive numbers to discuss.


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OF COURSE Dr. Chaps Wants To “Exorcise” Caitlyn Jenner

Our friends at Right Wing Watch publicizing Colorado GOP Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt’s latest lowlight today, and frankly we’re surprised it took him this long to take on America’s most famous transgender celebrity icon:

On his latest “Pray In Jesus Name” program, Religious Right activist and Colorado Republican lawmaker Gordon Klingenschmitt declared that Caitlyn Jenner needs an exorcism to rid her of the demonic “spirit of insanity.”

Responding to false reports that Jenner is planning to transition back to male, Klingenschmitt asserted that “it would be a dumb statement for someone to try to say that he wants to stay a woman because he’s not a woman. He’s never been one. His DNA has never changed. He still has male XY chromosomes. He is not a woman, he is a man. In fact, he still has male parts, I’m told.”

Now obviously, obviously, Chaps isn’t going to consider Caitlyn Jenner’s transition from living as a man to a woman to be legitimate. That was as predictable as sunrise. Politically, we’re not even willing to say this will hurt Rep. Klingenschmitt in his upcoming primary election to succeed Senate President Bill Cadman in SD-12–in fact, knowing what we know about the electorate down there, it should net him plenty of votes.

But perhaps in recognition of Chaps’ upcoming primary against loquacious ex-Rep. Bob Gardner, we note that Chaps didn’t call for Caitlyn Jenner to be drowned in the sea, or imply that she wants to behead Christians. No folks, Jenner is just the victim of garden-variety demonic possession:

“The spirit of insanity inside of this man, Bruce Jenner,” Klingenschmitt said, has made Jenner choose sin and “has brought him down a path of destruction … It is a mental illness. Of course, we think it is a demonic illness. The man needs an exorcism.”

See? Chaps can sort of tone it down. Exorcism is a lot nicer than execution after all, and more fun to watch too.

We’re just speculating about that last part.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 26)

Get More SmarterIf at first you don’t succeed…just keep filing lawsuits until a judge gives up. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).


► Wednesday witnessed the debut of the Get More Smarter Show, and today you can watch the second part of an interview with Gov. John Hickenlooper about his new memoir.


► For now, at least, there are officially 5 Republican candidates running for U.S. Senate. A district court judge ruled on Wednesday that Ryan Frazier won’t have to drop out of the race because of a lack of valid petition signatures. As John Frank reports for the Denver Post, the GOP Senate field is starting to get a bit nasty with just weeks to go before mail ballots are sent to Primary voters — and Darryl Glenn isn’t happy about having so many opponents:

One-time longshot Darryl Glenn, buoyed by the recent endorsement of the prominent Senate Conservatives Fund, continued to spit fire at his challengers in a Colorado Public Television debate Wednesday in which he suggested three of themonly qualified for the ballot because of “judicial activism.”

The action unfolded as Ryan Frazier won a court battle to secure a spot on the ballot a minute before the debate started. A Denver judge issued a ruling that allowed the state to count signatures on Frazier’s petitions from voters who didn’t update their registration, saying it met the “substantial compliance” standard in law.

Blaha and Jon Keyser needed judicial orders to qualify for the race after their petitions contained mistakes that prompted the state to initially reject them. Glenn, who won his slot in the race at the state Republican Party convention, suggested the judge went too far.

“The court should only look and determine whether or not the secretary of state did its job,” said Glenn, an El Paso County Commissioner running a bare-bones campaign. “This whole substantial compliance standard needs to be thrown out.”
He didn’t appear to know that state law explicitly requires the court to use the “substantial compliance” standard.


► Former Republican Senate candidate and current state Sen. Tim Neville is backing Robert Blaha for U.S. Senate. It probably has nothing to do with the fact that Neville’s son, Joe Neville, is now running Blaha’s campaign.

Blaha, meanwhile, has decided that it would be advantageous for his Senate campaign if he tries to “out-Trump” Donald Trump. Perhaps Blaha is drinking the same Kool-Aid as Trump staffers who insist that His Hairness is echoing the sentiments of the American people in his calls to ban Muslims from the United States.


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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 25)

Get More SmarterNo more homework, no more books; no more teacher’s dirty looks. Today is the last day of school for several districts in Colorado, including Jefferson County. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).


► At long last, you can finally Get More Smarter without even bothering to read words. Today is the debut of the Get More Smarter Show, presented commercial free on YouTube.


► Republican Ryan Frazier’s on-again, off-again relationship with the GOP Primary ballot took another turn on Tuesday. If you thought that this story couldn’t get any more ridiculous…well, obviously you are not familiar with the Colorado Secretary of State. As the Aurora Sentinel explains:

Frazier still has a chance to legitimately appear on the June 28 Republican primary ballot, however, as the state Supreme Court remanded the decision on the legality of another 51 signatures submitted by the former Aurora City Councilman’s campaign back to the Denver district court for reconsideration.

The district court has been ordered to issue a ruling on the final signatures by 5 p.m. Friday, May 27…

…Frazier was one of four Republican candidates who attempted to make the primary ballot by petition. Each of the other candidates — ex-Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham, Colorado Springs Businessman Robert Blaha and former state Rep. Jon Keyser — successfully petitioned on the ballot, despite several hiccups that resulted in various appeals.

The State Supreme Court punted a final decision on Frazier’s candidacy back to a lower court, where a few weeks ago a different judge refused to actually issue a definitive ruling…which is kind of how we got here in the first place. Primary ballots go out in the mail in less than two weeks, BTW.

For a great summary of the mess that is the Republican U.S. Senate race, check out this weekend story from Charles Ashby of the Grand Junction Sentinel.


► Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is attacking New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez even though she is a Republican. Martinez has plenty of her own problems, thank you very much.


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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 24)

Get More SmarterMay 24th may not be a national holiday…but it should be. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).


► The ongoing petition fraud story surrounding Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser just won’t go away, in large part because everyone associated with Keyser’s campaign is operating on a “Michael Brown running FEMA” level of crisis response. On Monday, Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger managed to find “Maureen,” one of the petition gatherers suspected of fraud related to Keyser’s campaign, and she wasn’t very eager to talk:

“Maureen” can run away from journalists such as Zelinger, but we would suspect she’ll have a more difficult time continuing to evade investigators with the Denver District Attorney’s office.


► Mail ballots will drop about two weeks from today in advance of the June 28th Primary, which doesn’t leave much time for the rest of the GOP Senate field to get their mugs in front of enough potential voters. Jon Keyser’s campaign is deader than a parrot in a Monty Python skit, and Ryan Frazier is just hoping that he won’t be required to withdraw from the race before voting commences.  The race for the Republican Senate nomination is likely to be a three-way battle between Darryl Glenn, Jack Graham, and Robert Blaha, and the grassroots favorite (Glenn) just landed a huge endorsement for a campaign badly in need of funding.


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Colorado Springs GOP primary turns the Legislature’s smiles into snarls

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

They're mean with Photoshop in Colorado Springs.

They’re mean with Photoshop in Colorado Springs.

A mailer  in Colorado Springs includes actual factual photos of state house candidate Larry Liston cross-dressing, but the attack letter fails to mention that Liston’s step into a dress was all part of a joke.

As reported by the Megan Schrader at the Colorado Springs Gazette:

One page of the letter includes two photos of Liston from Hummers, a skit put on by the minority party in the House chambers every year skewering the majority party. It also includes a link to a story about criticism Liston faced for calling unwed mother’s “sluts.” Liston later apologized for the statement. Another link in the letter takes readers to the 2011 voting log on Senate Bill 200, which created the state exchange for the Affordable Care Act and shows Liston voted for the legislation.

Liston said those are “gross misrepresentations.”

[Former State Rep. Amy] Stephens said there is a “long-standing House and Senate agreement” that anything in Hummers would not be used for or against someone in political campaigns.

“It’s just reprehensible that this would be violated,” Stephens said.

The mailer appears to be the work of GOP consultant Jon Hotaling in support of Rep. Janak Joshi (R-Colorado Springs), whose facing a primary challenge from Liston. Hotaling defended the letter in the Gazette’s story.


“Dr. Chaps” Loves Him Some Manly Men

And as usual, Colorado’s most (in)famous Republican state representative, Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, is all about telling you so on Facebook:


Yeah, we don’t have time to point out all the problems with this.

Best Reporting on the the State Legislature in 2016

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 11)

Get More Smarter“Sine Die” sounds a lot more foreboding than it should. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).


► The race for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Colorado continues to get weirder. On Tuesday, Marshall Zelinger of Denver7 broke the news in a series of reports that Jon Keyser appears to have qualified for the June 28th Primary ballot despite apparent widespread fraud on his signature petitions. Keyser’s name will likely remain on the ballot, but he has much bigger problems right now.


► The 2016 Colorado legislative session comes to an end today, as Joey Bunch reports for the Denver Postwithout much movement on some of the key issues that first faced legislators in January:

Now, at the end of the legislative session, lawmakers are back where they started.

The General Assembly saved the 2016 term’s top priorities for the final days and struggled Tuesday to reach deals on most of them.

The Republican-led Senate rejected separate measures to reclassify how the state collects fees paid by hospitals and create a primary for the 2020 presidential election. And the Democratic-controlled House jettisoned a $3.5 billion bond package for transportation and a proposal to study how construction-defects laws are hurting the condominium market.

The biggest issue of the session — reclassifying the so-called “Hospital Provider Fee”  to provide more money for key infrastructure needs — finally met its end in a Senate committee after Senate President Bill Cadman basically ran out the clock on making a decision. As the Colorado Springs Independent reports, there was wide support for the HPF issue…but it couldn’t overcome Cadman’s allegiance to the Koch Brothers-funded “Americans for Prosperity.”

The legislature also failed to come to an agreement on a bill that would get rid of Colorado’s Presidential caucus system in favor of a Primary vote.


 Voters in West Virginia and Nebraska got to pull some levers in the Presidential Primary on Tuesday. Democrat Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in West Virginia, though the result doesn’t put much of a dent in Clinton’s delegate lead. On the Republican side, Donald Trump was victorious in both West Virginia and Nebraska, which wasn’t a huge surprise since he’s the only GOP candidate still standing.


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Presenting The 2016 Rep. Doug Bruce “Kicker Award” Winners!

(Let the 2016 recaps begin – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As the Seventieth Colorado General Assembly’s final session comes to an end this week, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, today presented the inaugural Rep. Doug Bruce Awards, known in shorthand as the “Kicker Awards,”–given to lawmakers who commit the worst gaffes, embarrassments, outrages, and other lowlights in the course of their official and/or political duties.

“As one of Colorado’s most disastrous state lawmakers in addition to the author of the dysfunctional TABOR amendment, convicted felon tax evader Doug Bruce is the perfect namesake for our ‘Kicker Awards’ given to Colorado’s worst legislators,” said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. “Bruce remains a hero among conservative lawmakers, even while he sits in prison over his conviction for tax evasion. Its therefore possible our Doug Bruce Award winners will display their trophies similarly as badges of honor.”

Sen. Laura Woods: Worst Endorsement

All the way back in January, Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada led the way among Colorado elected Republicans throwing their support behind Donald Trump. Woods told Republicans her first two choices were Donald Trump or Ted Cruz months before Trump secured the Republican nomination, which is another way of saying months before it was cool to support Donald Trump. Woods deserves credit for predicting who her radical right friends would support, but voters in her swing suburban district won’t be impressed. [1]

Rep. JoAnn Windholz: Worst Social Media Post

In the aftermath of the domestic terror attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last November, Rep. JoAnn Windholz posted to Facebook a shocking unscripted tirade in which she outrageously blamed the victims for the killings. Women in Windholz’s district cried shame and Republican strategists were horrified at what this meant for defending her vulnerable House seat, but Windholz has refused to apologize for her statements. [2]

Rep. J. Paul Brown: Worst Flip Flopper

Colorado’s groundbreaking program to supply young and low-income women with long-acting reversible contraception has dramatically reduced the rate of teen pregnancy in Colorado, but conservatives have opposed the program on ideological grounds at every step. This year, Rep. J. Paul Brown of Ignacio pulled the biggest flip-flop of the session after he voted to strip funding from this important program after initially supporting it. Brown said he “just felt like” changing his vote because he could see many of his fellow Republicans opposing it–perhaps the most honest and most pathetic excuse for reversing course on legislation in Colorado history. [3]

Rep. Kevin Priola: Worst Missed Vote

Rep. Kevin Priola voted against legislation that would have renewed a law that allowed parents to attend academic events with their children for years. But before he voted against Colorado families with school-age kids, Priola actually requested a delay in the vote on the bill–so he could take his own child to a doctor’s appointment. Voting against families with children is one thing, voting against families after expecting special dispensation for your family is hypocrisy in rare form. [4]

Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg: Worst Offensive Statement

During debate over legislation in the Colorado Senate, right-wing Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg referred to his colleague Sen. Kerry Donovan, who happens to be female, as “eye candy.”

We sincerely hope it is not necessary to explain why this is offensive. [5]

Sen. Bill Cadman: Worst Puppet

Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman has presided over the most divisive and obstructionist Senate majority in over a decade. Cadman’s pack of far-right Senators have killed so many good bills since taking power by one barely-won seat in 2014 that it would be impossible to list them all. But in 2016, Cadman finally admitted who dictates the backward agenda in the Colorado Senate: the Koch brothers-funded “astroturf” group Americans For Prosperity. Cadman said “I don’t think I would be the president of the Senate” without AFP, and that he looks “forward to continuing our partnership.” Cadman even hired AFP Colorado’s former spokesman to be his own, and stood by while AFP attacked Republicans who dared to break from the party line. Under Bill Cadman, the Colorado Senate doesn’t even work for Colorado Republicans anymore–it’s under radical new management. [6]

Rep. J. Paul “Cletus” Brown Takes on Climate Change

Cletus Spuckler.

Cletus Spuckler.

As the Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus reports, Rep. J. Paul Brown of Ignacio decided to go on the record about climate change during a debate about legislation to regulate greenhouse gases.

He should have kept his mouth shut:

Republican state Rep. J. Paul Brown encouraged fellow lawmakers on Tuesday to see “Climate Hustle,” a “global warming comedy” that critics say foolishly emboldens climate change skeptics…

The remark raised eyebrows.

Later that evening, Brown told The Durango Herald that he is skeptical as to the cause of climate change.

“We continue to have climate change, I just question whether it’s man-made,” Brown said. [Pols emphasis]

ThinkProgress has a little more on the movie Climate Hustle, which as Marcus reports was shredded into bite-size pieces by ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel earlier this week (video after the jump):

On Monday evening’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, the ABC late-night host tackled something that isn’t in your average topical monologue: the scientific consensus on climate change. And he made a video featuring real climate scientists responding to climate denial in a fashion one doesn’t see in the National Academy of Sciences.

The catalyst involved a climate denier-produced movie, “Climate Hustle,” which has been called “amateurish” and “not very watchable.” Specifically what Kimmel seized on were comments former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin gave last month while promoting the movie…

“It’s perpetuated and repeated so often that too many people believe that, ‘Oh, well, if 97 percent of all scientists believe that man’s activities are creating changes in the weather, who am I to question that?’” she said.

“Exactly. Who are you to question that?” Kimmel replied…

Rep. J. Paul Brown (R).

Rep. J. Paul Brown (R).

Locals with an education agree:

“It’s an incredibly out-of-touch statement from a legislator whose district continues to have major challenges with air pollution,” said Jessica Goad, spokeswoman for Conservation Colorado. “Politicians like Rep. Brown, who flat-out deny that climate change is occurring, risk their own credibility, especially in the eyes of voters.”

The issue could play out during Brown’s re-election bid this year against retired Durango teacher Barbara McLachlan, who responded: “When did science become a belief system?”

The answer to that question is simple: before science, everything was a “belief system.”

But today, we have science. Most of us, anyway.