State Sen. King Charged with 3 Felonies & 2 Misdemeanors

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

THURSDAY POLS UPDATE: In a press release this morning, Colorado Ethics Watch calls on Republican Sen. Steve King to resign from the Colorado Senate.

Yesterday, Senator Steve King (R-Mesa County) was indicted on three felony and two misdemeanor charges related to alleged theft of public funds and falsification of records. Today, Colorado Ethics Watch calls on him to resign from the Colorado Senate.

According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the 18th Judicial District Attorney's office filed a criminal complaint against Sen. King, alleging that he wrongfully took between $2000 and $5000 from the Mesa County Sheriff's Office and Colorado Mesa University, both part-time employers of Senator King. The article also states that the District Attorney is investigating Senator King for other possible criminal violations.

Although Senator King is not seeking re-election, he remains the Chair of the powerful Legislative Audit Committee. The Committee is scheduled to meet twice more before Senator King's term ends. [Pols emphasis]

"The people of Mesa County deserve better than a Senator facing felony charges for embezzlement from public entities," said Luis Toro, Director of Ethics Watch. "Senator King should step down immediately and allow a replacement to serve the remainder of his term."

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Sen. Steve King (R).

Sen. Steve King (R).

Grand Junction seems to have really poor luck with elected officials

The complaint alleges King defrauded the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado Mesa University of $2,000 to $5,000 between July 2013 and December. The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported Wednesday that no affidavit explaining the basis for the charges was filed.

Today, in a turn of events not altogether unforeseen by political observers, State Senator Steve King was charged with a series of crimes related to apparent irregularities in outside work that he did during his time in the legislature. 

As ColoradoPols initially reported earlier this month, King was being paid for three different government jobs simultaneously. King was fired from the Mesa County Sheriff's office early in the summer for allegedly falsifying timecards. As the extent of the questionable behavior became public, King withdrew his candidacy for Mesa County Sheriff. Now, DA George Brauchler has filed a series of charges which include felony counts of embezzlement of public property, forgery and theft. He also was charged with misdemeanor counts of forgery and official misconduct.

State Legislators: Today’s Foreclosure Scandal just the Tip of the Iceberg

LISTEN UP Colorado Legislators:  Today's Foreclosure Scandal News in the Denver Post: is the tip of the Iceberg.  I've been telling Democrats and anyone else who would listen about it for years.  Absorb this from the story:  "Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said he was disturbed by what investigators uncovered, fostered largely by how the state's foreclosure system carried little oversight." 

Think about that sentence:  Our Republican AG is questioning the oversight of our laissez-faire foreclosure system!

 

Realize that Attorney Castle helped change the state foreclosure laws to his favor in 2006 and that there are homeowners throughout the state being unlawfully foreclosed upon with no documentation.  The banks are literally stealing homes from borrowers where they are not even the party of interest and have no skin in the game.  It is more difficult to repossess a car than a house in our state.

FIX THIS NOW!   

"Colorado is the only state in the country that allows an unsworn statement by an attorney for a foreclosing party — without any penalty — to say, 'Trust me, judge, these guys are the qualified holder for this deed of trust,' " Federal District Court Judge William Martinez said last year. "Is there another state that has lowered the bar for a foreclosure any lower?"

One former attorney who worked for Castle testified in 2012 when some foreclosure law changes failed to get to a state House vote, said he routinely signed foreclosure documents with limited but legal underlying documentation – at the direction of his boss.  He now works to defend homeowners in foreclosure cases.

It's time we quit listening to the Colorado Bankers Association," which is an accomplice in the foreclosure scam and pretends to represent banks in the state when in reality only 1% of assets represented by CBA are headquartered in Colorado (note Citigroup is a leading large-asset member of CBA who just cut a $7 Billion deal for a small part of their reported misdeeds in the mortgage securitization scam that should've been prosecuted under the RICO Act).  Ask why the "Colorado" Lobbyst Arm of the CBA has to bank at the JPMorgan Chase Branch in Baton Rouge.  (Pull up their actual filings on Tracer and click on View Filed Report at the bottom of this page).

Realize how the tables are being turned on MERS, the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, in some states that require all transactions of home ownership be recorded locally — not in an electronic database run by the banking industry who is complicit in the scam.  We should be able to go to our County Clerk and Recorders office to see who owns property, but MERS has undertaken a bloodless coup to hold half of the nations ownership records in the bank-owned system.  Colorado needs to require publicly recorded ownership documentation, just as Pennsylvania does.  Earlier this month a court ruled that MERS must stand trial to determine how much money it owes that state for avoiding recording fees and that should be a requirement here. Don't buy that garbage about how interest rates are lower because of MERS, and remember it when it becomes impossible to get a clear title to property down the road (Hint: Don't believe you'll be safe with title insurance either).

It's time to fix the system and demand we treat the largest asset most of us will ever have with respect before the banks turn us all into renters of "their" houses.  

FIX THIS NOW! Make it a Legislative Priority in 2015.  

– Dennis Obduskey, Co-Chair, Progressive Democrats of Colorado

 

Not Another UN Conspiracy Theory Whackadoo

agenda21

Here's a report from the Western Slope Watchdog from late last month that we didn't want to slip through unmentioned. From time to time, we've had to contend with some of the fringier Republican candidates for the Colorado legislature–and the occasional Congressman–who is convinced that the United Nations is right on the cusp of executing some kind of evil secret plan intended to strip away our American liberties. In 2010, GOP gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes made headlines–and punchlines–with his assertion that Denver's B-Cycle bike sharing program is part of a nefarious "United Nations program." J. Paul Brown, a former state representative defeated in 2012, said that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was "negotiating a treaty with the United Nations to take away Americans’ guns, which would spur a civil war."

Well folks, another midterm election year is upon us, so get ready for a fresh round of U.N. conspiracy theories–it must work or they wouldn't use them. Meet Donald Suppes, the Republican nominee running in Senate District 5 for the seat being vacated by outgoing Sen. Gail Schwartz:

Public lands issues, such as road closures, target shooting in Dominguez-Escalante canyons or federal water grabs targeting ski resorts and ranches, are another concern of the Republican candidate, who said he was “researching quite heavily” the Utah legislature’s resolution asking for their federal lands back.

“That’s going to be a battle that we’re going to have to fight,” Suppes said. “If they won’t back off, we will do this – we will take our lands back.”

Suppes said he saw the anti-fossil fuels movement and issues relating to control of public lands as part of the creeping influence of Agenda 21. He added that he saw evidence of United Nations influence when he visited Mexico. [Pols emphasis]

“It’s absolutely here,” he said. “The thing about Agenda 21 that the liberals didn’t expect is it gave the liberal playbook a name.”

Donald Suppes.

Donald Suppes.

​As we and other grownups have tried to explain in the past when this has come up, the United Nations' "Agenda 21 plan" consists of totally nonbinding recommendations on land use and economic planning. Like the U.N. Small Arms Treaty to regulate international arms trafficking, which conspiracy theorists imaginatively morphed into a "United Nations Gun Grab," these are recommendations meant mostly for the developing world–not for developed nations like the United States where solid land use policies (or in the case of guns, gun laws) already exist. In some countries, "Agenda 21" represents a first real attempt at any kind of land use planning.

In the minds of far-right Republicans and radio talk show hosts, however, "Agenda 21" has morphed into totalitarian plan to control more or less everything everyone in rural America does. It probably hasn't registered with Donald Suppes' target audience that the U.N. Small Arms Treaty has already been signed by the United States (it currently awaits ratification by a sufficient number of members), and gun confiscation in the neighborhoods of middle America has not followed suit. It's worth noting that the only nations to have voted against the U.N. Small Arms Treaty were Iran, North Korea, and Syria–what great company for the gun rights crowd to keep!

But that's the thing about conspiracy theories, isn't it? The next one is always the real one.

When Koch Front Groups Collide

Americans For Prosperity, the big-spending conservative "grassroots" group already criticized this year for misleading campaign ads in Colorado, is out with a new TV spot this week attacking three Democratic Colorado Senators up for re-election. From the group's press release yesterday:

Colorado’s largest grassroots free market group, Americans for Prosperity-Colorado, today announced a major expansion of its efforts to hold politicians accountable for ObamaCare. That effort starts today, when the group will use cable television spots, a direct mail campaign and neighborhood walks to hold accountable three Jefferson County lawmakers: Sens. Andy Kerr, Cheri Jahn and Jeanne Nicholson for supporting ObamaCare in Colorado.

The cable spots, which will run July 7 through 28, call out “The Obamacare Three” for helping President Obama’s unpopular health law take hold in Colorado, through expansion of the federal Medicaid program and creation of a state health exchange that’s already fraught with problems. The ads encourage their constituents to call their senator and tell them to stop supporting the failed policy…

What's interesting about this ad is that it goes all the way back to Senate Bill 11-200–the bipartisan legislation that originally created the Connect For Health Colorado insurance marketplace. SB11-200, as our readers know well, became known as the "Amycare" bill after its principal Republican sponsor in the Colorado House, Rep. Amy Stephens. Other Republican sponsors of SB11-200 included Reps. Tom Massey and Ken Summers. On final passage in the Colorado House, Republican "yes" votes on Senate Bill 11-200 included then-House Speaker Frank McNulty, Larry Liston, Cheri Gerou, Carole Murray, Kevin Priola, Robert Ramirez, among others.

So there's that, and for a lot of viewers, omitting the major Republican role in passing SB11-200 is enough to flatten AFP's credibility–assuming, of course, they ever hear the rest of the story. But here's perhaps an even more interesting twist for political junkies: AFP receives a large portion of its funding from influential conservative donors Charles and David Koch, known together as the "Koch brothers." One of the biggest conservative-leaning proponents of Colorado's health insurance exchange legislation, a big reason why there was bipartisan support for the exchange to begin with, is the National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB supported the Colorado exchange because the exchanges were, at one time, anyway, considered a "free market" way of expanding access to health care:

NFIB supported the concept of exchanges long before Barak [sic--Pols] Obama was elected President. The exchange concept was not unique to the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act.

Do you think NFIB should tell that to AFP? Especially since they've both taken millions of dollars from the Koch brothers?

In all likelihood, the Koch brothers couldn't care less if these two organizations they fund are working at cross purposes. But the NFIB's support for the very thing that AFP is attacking these Democrats for, with no mention of the many Republicans who helped pass it, underscores what an illegitimate pile of crap this whole attack from AFP is. This one group, Americans For Prosperity, has accounted for a disproportionate share of the "Obamascare" mendacity we've seen on the air this year in Colorado–and so far, blistering fact-checks from the media haven't fazed them.

For anyone who knows the facts that AFP twists, it's outrageous. But how many will find out before the election?

Woods: Become a fake Republican and vote in GOP primary!

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Laura Woods.

Laura Woods.

The day before the Republican primary, in which Republican Laura Woods triumphed over Lang Sias for the right to take on Democratic State Senator Rachel Zenzinger, Woods made the following comment on the KLZ’s Grassroots Radio Colorado:

WOODS: “…tomorrow, if you’re an unaffiliated voter, and you don’t want more of the same, go down to the polling place, change to a Republican for a day or two, fill out a ballot, and then after the primary, if you don’t want to stay a Republican, you don’t have to stay. You can unaffiliate again. But you can be a part of the change right now by electing somebody who is going to stand up for the Constitution.”

Listen to Woods suggest unaffiliated voters briefly switch parties to help her win GOP primary 6-23-14

There's nothing illegal about Woods' suggestion, but the folks down at KLZ, including host Kristina Cook, are all about "principles."

How principled is it to try to win a Republican primary with the votes of fake Republicans? It doesn't appear that Woods' suggestion made any difference in the election, but if I were running the show at Grassroots Radio Colorado, I would have asked Woods about her idea that unaffiliated voters should join the GOP for "a day or two."

Or maybe Jon Caldara will invite her on his KHOW show and compare notes. In any case, it's done now.

Democrats Continue to Outraise Republicans in State Senate Races

With the Primary Election behind us, focus can now turn fully to the key General Election matchups that will determine control of the State Legislature. According to a press release from the Democratic Senate Campaign Fund (DSCF), Democratic candidates in key State Senate races are significantly outperforming Republican counterparts in fundraising.

You can read the full press release after the jump, but take a look at the comparisons of some top races below:

SD 5
Kerry Donovan (D)
DEM COH: $45,840.31
Dem Total Raised: $59,473.00
Don Suppes (R)
R COH: $20,760.92
R Total Raised: $32620.63
Edward Mulcahy (Libertarian)
Lib COH: $1,430.95
Lib Total Raised: $1,475.00

SD 16
Jeanne Nicholson (D)
DEM COH: $62,653.88
Dem Total Raised: $103,445.10
Tim Neville (R)
R COH: $64,106.04
R Total Raised: $74,457.70

SD 19
Rachel Zenzinger (D)
DEM COH: $56,615.35
Dem Total Raised: $69,573.65
Laura Woods (R)
R COH: $2,596.67
R Total Raised: $45,644.00
Gregg Miller (Libertarian)
Lib COH: $0
Lib Total Raised: $0

SD 22
Andy Kerr (D)
DEM COH: $56,342.53
Dem Total Raised: $91,895.31
Tony Sanchez (R)
R COH: $15,122.16
R Total Raised: $39,651.52

 

These fundraising totals are certainly not all-encompassing in terms of the amount of money that will ultimately be spent by third party groups, but they nevertheless give a good indication of how successful candidates have been at appealing to supporters.

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Where does your state legislator stand on women’s issues?

 Women's Lobby of Colorado Legislative Scorecard.  See how your legislators are rated.

It's a ten page document, and posting pdfs is a pain, so you can look it up yourself. But you may find some surprises.

My SD3 candidate, and current HD46 rep, Leroy Garcia, has 100%.

My Senator, George Rivera, has 64%, which was higher than I thought he would have.

My current HD47 rep, Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff, is rated 36%. I guess that's what happens when one's market brand is being "business friendly".

By the way, "women's issues" are not just reproductive rights issues – economy, healthcare, education, and opportunity are also women's issues. Sorry, Laura Carno, larger magazine size on full auto guns didn't make the list.

 

 

BREAKING: Judge Tosses Lawsuit Against Colorado Gun Laws


Gov. John Hickenlooper signs gun safety legislation, March 20, 2013.
Photo via AP's Ivan Moreno

UPDATE #3: From Gov. John Hickenlooper via AP/9NEWS:

The judge today offered a thorough and reasoned opinion and recognized that the state's new gun laws do not unduly burden anyone's Second Amendment rights. We appreciate the good work that the Attorney General's team did to represent the state and defend the law.

USA TODAY's Michael Winter recaps background our readers know well:

The state's Democratic-majority legislature passed the measures last year in reaction to the 2012 mass killings at a Denver-area movie theater and the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. In a backlash by voters, two Democratic senators subsequently were recalled and a third resigned.

In her 50-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger wrote "evidence shows that large-capacity magazines are frequently used in gun violence and mass shootings, and that often a shooter will shoot continuously until a weapon jams or the shooter runs out of ammunition."

"Most experts agree that the size of a magazine correlates to the number of rounds that are fired in both an offensive and defensive capacity," she added.

But the plaintiffs — gun owners, advocates, manufacturers and sheriffs — had presented no evidence that someone's ability "to defend him or herself is seriously diminished if magazines are limited," Krieger declared. [Pols emphasis]

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UPDATE #2: Read Chief Judge Marcia Krieger's decision in its entirety here.

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Dudley Brown’s Temporary Triumph: RMGO’s Last Hurrah?

Dudley Brown of RMGO.

Dudley Brown of RMGO.

AP's Ivan Moreno reports this morning in the wake of huge legislative GOP primary victories for the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners in bellwether Jefferson County, over comparatively moderate Republican challengers–victories that have nonetheless worsened Republican odds of retaking the Colorado Senate this November:

In Senate District 22, which covers Lakewood, Tony Sanchez defeated Mario Nicolais, a party attorney who helped draw maps during state redistricting in 2011.

In Senate District 19, which includes Arvada, Laura Woods defeated Lang Sias, a veteran of both Gulf Wars. Woods was involved in two recall petition efforts against former District 19 Sen. Evie Hudak.

Both districts are considered toss-ups, and political analysts saw the defeated Nicolais and Sias as more established candidates who could have attracted independent voters in November. Nicolais advocated passage of civil unions for gay couples last year, and Sias narrowly lost to Hudak in 2012.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols lays it out more plainly:

Senate Democrats might also be excited about Tuesday’s result, in large part because they believe both Sanchez and Woods are too conservative for the districts they are seeking to represent. If Democrats are able to defeat both candidates, it will go a long way in helping them hold onto their one-seat majority this November.

Some Republican analysts feel the same way.

“These are very competitive districts in a very competitive county,” former Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams said. “And if the wrong candidates win these primaries, they cannot win these competitive districts. Lang Sias can win. Mario Nicolais can win. Their opponents (Woods and Sanchez) cannot.” [Pols emphasis]

With victories in these two key battleground primaries now in hand, Dudley Brown's Rocky Mountain Gun Owners now moves to the next stage–as Brown put it, "hunting Democrats" in the general elections. But that is quite likely to prove a bridge too far for RMGO, who has had great success getting their favored candidates elected largely by winning GOP primaries in safe Republican seats. In a general election in a competitive district, what operates in RMGO's favor in a safe-seat primary becomes a liability. Both RMGO endorsed candidates who won last night in Jefferson County, Laura Waters Woods and Tony Sanchez, and distantly out of the mainstream of a wide variety of issues that have nothing to do with guns.

While no one should write off these races by any stretch of the imagination in what remains a challenging year, Democrats were cut a tremendous break last night when the more electable Republicans lost these two primaries. RMGO, whose energies Republicans have been glad to channel when it suits their purposes, may be about to discover the hard limit of their power.

In a way that's going to leave a mark.

Dudley Brown Slimes Up SD-19 GOP Primary Real Good

Lang Sias, Tea Party endorsed no longer.

Lang Sias, “Tea Party endorsed” no longer.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports on another nasty turn the Senate District 19 Republican primary between establishment pick Lang Sias and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners endorsed Laura Waters Woods, to a common tactic employed the nefarious Dudley Brown.

Send in the gays!

In its final get out the vote effort ahead of Tuesday’s Republican primaries, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and other conservative activists backing Laura Woods in state senate district 19 are calling voters to warn them that Woods’ opponent, Lang Sias, is receiving help from a “liberal millionaire homosexual.”

The attack line has been going around for a few weeks, first as part of a direct mail piece from a group called the National Family Coalition (registered to an RMGO ally based in Virginia) that depicted Sias as a monkey alongside text stating that his campaign “is funded by millionaire homosexual activist Tim Gill through Colorado Concern.”

Gill, the software executive whose personal resources helped turn Colorado from red to blue and who’s led the push for LGBT equality through his Gill Foundation, is a board member of Colorado Concern, an organization of more than 100 area CEOs.

While Sias has not received personal financial contributions from Gill, it’s true that Colorado Concern has spent around $50,000 through an independent expenditure committee to help Sias stave off the primary challenge from Woods, believing that the race is critical to Republicans’ chances of winning a senate majority in November.

Laura Woods.

Laura Woods.

​The idea that Tim Gill, one of the architects of the Democratic takeover of this state a decade ago, would want to help out a Republican candidate in a tight election year is highly improbable to stay the least. That said, board memberships are what they are. Semantically, this is something Lang Sais' opponents can formulate into a complete sentence that's technically accurate under a certain strained interpretation. This isn't the first time that RMGO or one of Dudley Brown's related family of "pro-gun" organizations has gone after fellow Republicans by tying them to the dreaded gays in a primary, as ex-Sen. Jean White can tell you.

If you find this attack repugnant or meaningless, that's because it's not aimed at you. It's aimed at voters who don't like gay people. Now, there may be a plausible correlation one can make between voters who don't like gay people and Republican primary voters, and that might be honestly frustrating to Republican strategists, who seem convinced that the third time's a charm in 2014 for two-time election loser Lang Sias.

But whether we're talking about Dudley Brown, or bigotry against gays in the Republican rank and file, there is only so much sympathy the Republican establishment can be afforded. These one-time assets have too recently swung full circle to bite them. And all other considerations aside, the only reason SD-19 is up for election this year at all is the recall attempt against Evie Hudak mounted by Laura Woods and the RMGO.

So, as they say, dance with the one who brought you.

RMGO Busy Getting Favored Candidates Nominated

woodsrmgo

A last-minute plea from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners executive director Dudley Brown today touts endorsements for Senate District 19 Republican Senate candidate Laura Woods, as the clock winds down to next Tuesday's GOP primary elections:

For the past several weeks, you've received many e-mails from me urging you to vote for conservative Republican Laura Woods in the June 24th Primary Election for Senate District 19.

However, I don't just want you to take my word for it, but also consider the other conservative champions who are supporting Laura, including:

Top-rated conservative State Representative Justin Everett,
Weld County Sheriff and gun rights lawsuit leader John Cooke,
Former U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong, 
State Senator Ted Harvey, and
Former State Senator Dave Schultheis.

Now, these individuals know exactly what it takes to fight for your Constitutional rights.

Take it from these proven conservative leaders, and vote for Republican Laura Woods in the June 24th Primary Election.

With a tag team of Bill Armstrong and Dave Schultheis in her corner, how can anybody stand in Laura Waters Woods' way? And since this is an RMGO email, there is of course a healthy portion of recycled scumbagging for Woods' opponent, two-time loser Lang Sias:

You may have even heard Laura on morning talk radio shows like Peter Boyles, as a key spokesperson for the recall effort.

If you did hear her, then you know just how passionate and committed she is about protecting our rights. 

Unfortunately, Lang Sias, a handpicked liberal, establishment Republican, has chosen to run a primary against Laura. 

If you’ve read our emails before, you know by now that Lang Sias has already attempted to run for office TWICE in the last two election cycles and LOST – even to Evie Hudak!

Tony Sanchez.

Tony Sanchez.

RMGO is working every bit as hard to ensure their endorsed Republican candidate in Senate District 22, Tony Sanchez, beats Republican attorney Mario Nicolais. What we've heard is that in both of these races, and others where RMGO has made a primary endorsement, a robust field campaign with no shortage of volunteers is busily underway–making it quite likely that Colorado's "no compromise" gun rights organization is going to have a very good night on Tuesday.

Electability in November, of course, is another matter, but until next Wednesday morning, you won't find any Democrats raining on RMGO's parade.

Bible and Constitution would guide Woods in State Senate

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Laura Woods.

Laura Woods.

A candidate's religious or godless beliefs are too often ignored by the dwindling press, so we should be grateful to the radio hosts on KLZ AM-560 for giving candidates the chance to talk openly about how religion guides their lives and decisions.

I mean, it's a public service to know that State Senate candidate Laura Woods, who's running for the seat currently occupied by Democrat Rachel Zenzinger, will look narrowly to the Constitution and the Bible to guide her if she's elected. And that God directs Woods in a "real sense."

Conservative talk radio is apparently seen by candidates as a safe and comfortable place to talk openly about God, and it's a public service for us to hear the religious discussions that bless the airwaves there.

I previously reported on gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo's belief, as stated on talk radio, that God has a plan for him. Woods offered her thoughts on the topic on two recent shows.

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War Between RMGO, GOP Establishment Goes On In SD-19

UPDATE #2: Apropos, Eli Stokols goes in-depth on the SD-19 primary for 5280.com today:

"I just couldn't do it," Sias says. "For me to [run for state senate], I'll be beholden to the Constitution and to the people of the district, not an outside power broker. At the end of the day, I'd rather lose than be in that guy's pocket."

That guy, of course, is Dudley Brown, RMGO's executive director, who is notorious in Colorado Republican circles for his scorched-earth tactics against GOP candidates who don't fill out his survey, which asks candidates to declare their absolute support for gun rights and their commitment to fighting against or to repeal gun control efforts.

The survey itself comes with an intimidating cover sheet informing the candidate, "we expect legislators to live up to their word" and threatening the familiar brand of retribution should they fail to fill it out: "Failure to respond will mean we have to tell citizens that you do not care enough about their gun rights to fill out the survey, and can't be counted on to defend those rights."

Sias’ decision may be the one that determines whether he is ultimately successful in his upcoming primary against the RMGO-backed Laura Woods… [Pols emphasis]

—–

UPDATE: This graphic that appears on the Colorado Campaign for Life website appears to be the Facebook post in question that was "shared" by Laura Waters Woods:

siasabortion

—–

Lang Sias, Tea Party endorsed no longer.

Lang Sias, “Tea Party endorsed” no longer.

A press release late Tuesday from Republican SD-19 primary candidate Lang Sias sums up the acrimonious state of one of the GOP's most important state legislative races this year, as establishment kingmakers square off against the powerful Rocky Mountain Gun Owners:

The Sias for Colorado Senate Campaign calls on Laura Woods to immediately retract her statement comparing Lang Sias to one of America's most notorious mass murderers. In a stunning and completely unfair post on social media, Laura Woods featured Lang Sias next to a picture of Kermit Gosnell. Kermit Gosnell viciously murdered children born alive and was found guilty of first degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

Former Senate President John Andrews decries Woods' act, stating: "Laura Woods has to stop making things up. She claimed me as a supporter when I'm not. I'm neutral. Much worse, she linked Lang Sias with a mass murderer for failing to complete a survey. I know Lang to be pro-life. This is unworthy of a would-be senator, the smear of the year."

Lang Sias is committed to the pro-life position, including no partial birth abortion or late stage abortion, no taxpayer funding of abortion, and religious freedom for employers related to abortion…

Laura Woods.

Laura Woods.

​Any time a GOP primary invokes the name of the reviled abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, you know somebody means business. There is likely no primary campaign going on in Colorado today featuring nastier rhetoric than in the GOP SD-19 race–the seat formerly held by Evie Hudak, now held by a very capable Democrat Rachel Zenzinger. The district's close past election results, combined with a perceived opportunity created by Hudak's resignation last year to avoid a possible recall, makes this race an absolute must-win for Republicans hoping to recapture the Colorado Senate this year.

RMGO, the powerful "no compromise" pro-gun group which played heavily in the recall petition drive against Hudak, is battling hard for their endorsed candidate Laura Waters Woods, who won the Assembly vote to appear as the top-line candidate. Here's the latest missive from RMGO political director Joe Neville:

"Republican" Senate District 19 candidate Lang Sias has a long list of sins that show why he can't be trusted.

As recently as 2006, Lang Sias was registered as a Democrat who switched his registration only TWO YEARS before he ran for Congress as a Republican.

Furthermore, Lang Sias even financially supported anti-gun Democrat Mark Udall!

Now, when we were gathering signatures for the Hudak Recall, we knew it would be an extremely tough job to pull off, as we needed over 18,000 signatures in 60 days!

…It would be a HUGE slap in the face to the nearly 1,000 individual Recall Hudak volunteers, as well as the nearly 25,000 people who signed the recall petition, if Lang Sias won the June 24th Republican Primary Election in Senate District 19. [Pols emphasis]

Bottom line: whatever momentum Republicans may feel exists in this district after last year's turmoil, Lang Sias is still the guy who lost in 2012 to Evie Hudak. Sen. Zenzinger has done an excellent job establishing herself in a short time, and there is no reason to think she would underperform Hudak in the general election–in fact, she puts Democrats in about their best possible position to hold the seat. Add to that the likelihood that the present anti-establishment sentiment among the Republican grassroots today operates in Woods' favor, and it's easy to see why backers of Sias are very worried that he's about to lose his third election.

Mario Nicolais Gets Two Ads For The Price of One

An interesting twist on the usual primary wrangling–check out the mailer below, sent by a GOP message group in support of Democratic HD-24 primary candidate Kristian Teegardin to Democratic primary voters:

teegardinmario

This mailing raises eyebrows for a couple of reasons. There's the obvious question about a Republican aligned and operated group getting involved in a Democratic primary. In this case, we think that can be adequately explained by Teegardin's Democratic opponent, Jessie Danielson, who worked for the progressive America Votes organization and is a natural enemy of the Scott Gessler vote suppression "integrity" set. One such friend and political ally of Gessler is the registered agent of the group in question, GOP attorney Mario Nicolais.

As one of the principal election law attorneys for local Republicans, Nicolais' name appears as the registered agent for lots of Republican-aligned political groups–for example, the organization that attacked Republican county clerks over election reform legislation using photos of voters with African-American faces Photoshopped out. In this case, though, there's an added bonus: Nicolais is a Republican candidate for the Colorado Senate in SD-22. SD-22 and HD-24, the House district Teegardin is running in, overlap for much of the town of Edgewater west of Sheridan Boulevard! It's not a huge overlap, but it's the first instance we've ever seen of a mailer sent to voters in one district with the name of another candidate for the same voters as the registered agent.

Building name ID among Democrats wouldn't help Nicolais in his heated primary against Rocky Mountain Gun Owners-endorsed Tony Sanchez, of course, in fact we could easily see meddling in a Democratic primary being used against Nicolais with SD-22 primary voters. We'd say that any one of the pieces of this story by itself isn't terribly remarkable, but the combination of these storylines makes, at the very least, for some interesting trivia.

For HD-24 Democrats and SD-22 Republicans especially.

Still No News On Local Control Special Session Deal

Photo courtesy Rep. Jared Polis

Photo courtesy Rep. Jared Polis

The Colorado Independent's John Tomasic reports on what's known, as of today, about the state of negotiations over local control legislation to forestall oil and gas local regulation measures being readied for this November's statewide ballot. The latest news is…no news:

Draft legislation shopped around this weekend that seeks to clarify powers held by state, county and city authorities in Colorado to regulate oil-and-gas drilling has not won full support by the main negotiating parties, and so a special legislative session tentatively scheduled to begin today in Denver has been postponed.

Officials have said for some time that they hoped to make a deal in June. Governor John Hickenlooper weeks ago asked lawmakers to clear their schedules for the beginning of this week. That Friday’s proposal failed to gain the support it needed to launch the session today seems like a significant setback. Although the governor can call a special session any time, sources have said they want to ink a deal before election-year momentum builds and campaign politics steal progress already made and narrow wiggle room in which to find future compromise.

The draft bill sparked frenzied speculation over the weekend that parties had drawn close to a deal after weeks of stops and starts and that the plan for a special session beginning today was on track.

News this morning that the proposal has so far failed to launch the session will please grassroots groups that have led the movement in the state over the past five years to push back against boom-time natural-gas drilling activity. The groups received the six-page proposal this weekend with frustration and anger.

Rep. Jared Polis, so far the leading backer of any serious effort to pass a local control ballot measure, is reportedly willing to pull his support for the initiatives, if the draft legislation unveiled Friday sees no weakening during legislative debate. Grassroots supporters of greater local control, who aren't happy with the draft legislation, need the support of Polis and/or other well-heeled players to have any realistic shot at winning a statewide ballot fight against what would doubtless be fierce industry opposition. But the reason a special session of the legislature did not convene today is the closely divided body, particularly the Colorado Senate where pro-industry Democrats throw a one-seat majority into doubt, may not be in a position to pass anything.

The question is, would that really be so bad?

It's critical to remember as these negotiations drag on that there is a great deal of public support, as evidenced by the local "fracking" bans and moratoria that have passed in several Front Range residential cities, for strengthening local control over oil and gas drilling. Arguments that a statewide local control ballot measure could hurt Democrats politically are poorly founded and of dubious origin. If the industry and its political allies get cocky, for which the early shrill attacks on Polis betray at least a desire, there's no reason to further try to appease them.

A legislative compromise is the industry's chance to prevent both tighter regulation and humiliation in a statewide vote–and the risk of consequences at the ballot box in November hinges on the industry's willingness to show good faith today. The compromise that Polis says he would accept even as many grassroots activists complain about its weakness is, under the assumption the local control measures can pass in November, as good a deal as the industry is going to get.

If they don't understand that, we say let them learn the hard way.