Personhood ties run deep in Jeffco GOP campaigns

(Dance with the ones that bring ya – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Laura Waters Woods

Laura Waters Woods

I wrote last week about how senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s support for Colorado's personhood abortion ban was part of his formula for winning the 2010 Republican caucus process, which was a big step to his being elected to Congress.

If you look at the State Senate races in Jeffco today, you see that the influence of key personhood backers persists, meaning that Gardner would likely face the same pressure to embrace personhood positions today as he did then. Gardner, of course, did not run in Jeffoco, but similar dynamics play out statewide.

The latest campaign finance reports reveal that Jeffco Republican candidates Tim Neville (SD-16), Laura Woods (SD-19), and Tony Sanchez (SD-22) all have notorious GOP strategic consultant Jon Hotaling on the payroll via his company, "Liberty Service Corporation.” Liberty Service Corporation was Sanchez's largest expenditure ($1,750) during the latest campaign-finance-reporting period and the second largest for Woods ($1,000) and Neville ($1,000).

Hotaling’s firm has worked over the years for Rep. Janak Joshi, gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, and other personhood supporters, most notably for Colorado For Equal Rights, which ran the pro-personhood campaign, fronted by Kristi Burton, in 2008, according to campaign-finance reports. In 2008, Hotaling collected about $12,000 from Colorado For Equal Rights.

Tony Sanchez.

Tony Sanchez.

​So a major consultant for Personhood is deeply integrated into the campaigns of the three Republican senate candidates in Jeffco. Neville, Sanchez, and Woods all support personhood, as defined by Colorado Right to Life, based on their responses to its candidate survey this year.

Using what Republicans themselves called unethical tactics, Woods and Sanchez hammered their Republican primary opponents on the abortion issue during their primary campaigns against Lang Sais and Mario Nicolais.

In one flyer produced by "Colorado for Family Values," Nicolais was pictured next to Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor convicted of murdering babies. The caption read: “Kermit Gosnell and his ‘House of Horrors’ abortion mill operated in secrecy for 17 years before his murderous crimes became infamous. Ask Mario why he won’t publicly defend the unborn? Call Mario…”

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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.

 

 

Photo: Indicted Sen. Steve King Collects More Per Diem

Last week, the Grand Junction Sentinel's Charles Ashby reported that Republican state Sen. Steve King, who has been indicted on multiple felony counts related to alleged theft of public funds, has been quietly removed from his post as chairman of the powerful joint Legislative Audit Committee by GOP Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman. To briefly recap, King is accused of improperly receiving pay from several government entities, including the Mesa County Sheriff and Colorado Mesa University, claiming hours worked that conflict with one another and King's time spent in the Colorado Senate.

In short, embezzlement and falsification of official records.

For reasons we don't understand clearly, there has been no pressure on term-limited Sen. King to resign from fellow Republicans in the Colorado Senate. The most prominent call for King to step down has come from nonpartisan (but disliked by Republicans generally) Colorado Ethics Watch. The relative lack of scandal over Sen. King's continued presence at the Colorado Capitol makes very little sense to us.

Today, Sen. King was in attendance for a meeting of the Transportation Legislation Review Committee (photo above). This would presumably entitle Sen. King to the maximum per diem reimbursement for showing up as an out-of-metro legislator. It's possible that, with King's other sources of income cut off, showing up as a lame duck to committees he's still allowed to serve on may be the only way to pay his bills.

Once again, if Sen. King had a (D) after his name…wouldn't Republicans be screaming bloody murder? Shouldn't Chuck Plunkett be detailing a reporter for a multi-day series? A lawmaker accused of felony embezzlement continuing to collect the same taxpayer dollars he's accused of stealing?

We don't get it, folks.

Sen. Ted Harvey Goes Bonkers Over Benghazi

Sen. Ted Harvey (left).

Sen. Ted Harvey (left).

The New York Times reported Friday about a new book forthcoming about the September 2012 attack on the American diplomatic consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The book 13 Hours, co-written by CIA contractors involved in the response to the attack on the Benghazi consulate that resulted in the death of the American ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and several other Americans, sheds some new light on the events of that day:

The book, titled “13 Hours,” is the first public account of the night’s events by any of the American security personnel involved in the attack. The accusation that the base chief, referred to in the book only as “Bob,” held back the rescue opens a new front in a fierce political battle over who is at fault for the American deaths.

Republicans have blamed President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, then the secretary of state, for the security failure.

American officials have previously acknowledged that the Central Intelligence Agency security team paused to try to enlist support from Libyan militia allies. But the book is the first detailed account of the extent of the delay, its consequences for the rescue attempt, and who made the decisions.

The commandos’ account — which fits with the publicly known facts and chronology — suggests that the base chief issued the “stand down” orders on his own authority. [Pols emphasis] He hoped to enlist local Libyan militiamen, and the commandos speculate that he hoped the Libyans could carry out the rescue alone to avoid exposing the C.I.A. base.

Hillary Clinton Newsweek

​In the aftermath of the Benghazi attack, Republicans have strained credibility to make a connection between high-level Obama administration officials and the decisions made on the ground that may have contributed to the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans. This latest version of events from the CIA contractors who responded has reinvigorated those questions from Republicans, despite the fact that they at least partly exonerate the administration–it wasn't then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or anyone in Washington who ordered those operatives to "stand down," it was the CIA's station chief in Benghazi acting on his own authority.

Which beings us to Colorado Sen. Ted Harvey, who runs the national Stop Hillary PAC–and has been beating the Benghazi drum as loudly as anyone. Don't pester Harvey with any of your silly details:

This is an emergency. We just learned the damning truth about Benghazi — the loss of 4 American lives was COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE. 

The key U.S. security team in Benghazi was FORBIDDEN from immediately responding to the attack on the American diplomatic mission. 

That's right…their inside account of what happened the night of the September 11, 2012, Benghazi attack is proof that Hillary Clinton had the means to save her diplomatic team…

Hillary Clinton is guilty of more than just lying. Crippling indecision, or worse, willful inaction were Hillary's death sentence for those 4 Americans who died September 11, 2012. [Pols emphasis]

And that, dear reader, is how the deed gets done. The facts that undermine Harvey's insistence that Clinton has blood on her hands? Forget those facts. Harvey never bothers to mention that it was the CIA station chief in Benghazi who the contractors say "forbade" them from going in. And it doesn't matter than a bipartisan House investigation determined there was no intentional wrongdoing by anyone in the administration.

Of all the attacks that have been leveled against the Clintons in their many years in politics, the Benghazi attack probably isn't the worst. But the disregard for the facts in this case, even after they are refuted by credible investigations, is a good lesson in how for many in politics today, facts just don't matter.

Colorado Sen. Ted Harvey fits that description perfectly.

UN Liberals, Unicorn Bans, and Better Broadband—The Battle for Senate District 5

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Senator Gail Schwartz, who has rather tirelessly worked on behalf of Senate District 5 is term-limited, and the battle to replace her is considered one of the top races this cycle for control of the Colorado Senate.  The contest is between Kerry Donavan, town councilor for Vail, and member of a long time Eagle County business and ranching family; and, Don Suppes the self-proclaimed “most conservative mayor” from Orchard City, an incorporated water district on the southern flanks of Grand Mesa, somewhere roughly between Delta and Cedaredge

The Club 20 debates yesterday not only included the marque races for Governor and U.S. Senator, and the second string races for CD 3 (Tipton, R-Worthless and Tapia, D-Pueblo, again) and CD 2 (featuring George Leing talking to himself), but a number of down ticket races as well including one shaping up to be a major battle in the fight to keep or take control of the state senate. 

Senate District 5–which includes Eagle, Lake, Gunnison, Chafee, Pitkin, and Delta counties–bridges the Divide: at the spine of the continent, as well as in the politics in western Colorado. 

Far from the ‘Republican stronghold’ some imagine it to be—western Colorado actually has classically divided politics: a number of areas are blue and trending bluer, even as the Republican strangleholds on places like Mesa and Moffat County increase.

And there is a strong sentiment toward being non-affiliated: which spans the range from conservative to liberal, and not always in familiar pairings.  A lot of folks like guns, and pot.  Your neighbors might be a changing band of hippies or survivalists bunkering down for the post-apocalypse.  Sometimes its the same group of people.  Its not a new thing and we like it that way.  We can be a little crusty, but most of us are friendly, and we help each other out.  

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Some details on how Gardner “built his entire political career on support of personhood”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

Back in July, Cosmo's Ada Calhoun quoted Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, as saying:

Mason: "[Cory Gardner has] built his entire political career on support of personhood. I think he's just listening to some bad advice, and he's playing politics."

Calhoun didn't get into the details of how and why Gardner relied on personhood to advance himself in politics, so I'll hit on it briefly now, not only because it gives you insight into Gardner but, in the bigger picture, the anti-abortion movement's lock on Republican candidates as they move through caucus and primary processes in Colorado.

From the time he was elected to the State Legislature, Gardner clearly made his anti-abortion stance a priority, sponsoring state personhood legislation, in 2007, defining life as beginning at conception and outlawing abortion even in the case of rape and incest.

In 2008, Gardner stood with other Colorado legislators in support of Colorado's first personhood ballot measure, earning a shout out from Kristi Burton, the mother of our state's personhood movement,

When she helped launch the 2012 personhood measure, which didn't make the ballot, Burton praised Gardner as "very supportive" and "one of our main supporters" of personhood campaigns.

Gardner's deep support from anti-abortion activists paid off as he launched his first congressional campaign against a tough field of candidates, including Tom Lucero, the former CU regent.

At a Tea Party event in November of 2009, Gardner was asked if he'd carry legislation to end the "practice" of abortion:

Gardner: "Yes, and I have a legislative background to back it up."

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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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Isn’t Sen. Steve King a Poster Child?

Sen. Steve King (R).

Sen. Steve King (R).

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports today on the latest developments in the Sen. Steve King embezzlement scandal. For those not following this story, GOP Sen. King is facing several felony and misdemeanor charges, stemming from allegedly falsified timesheets filed with different public agencies he was employed by–overlapping to a degree that the pay he received cannot be justified.

The fact is, it’s been several weeks since we last wrote about Sen. King’s troubles. With a major election just weeks away now, it occurred to us as we read Ashby’s story this morning that felony charges against a sitting Republican state senator ought to be a bigger election season story than the press coverage we’ve seen up to now would indicate.

Colorado GOP Senate leaders appear to agree:

Embattled state Sen. Steve King was replaced as a member and chairman of the Legislative Audit Committee nearly a month ago, but Senate Republicans didn’t tell anyone about the change despite felony charges facing the Grand Junction Republican. [Pols emphasis]

Jesse Mallory, chief of staff for the Senate Republicans, said King and Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, “mutually agreed” that King should be replaced on the eight-member panel that reviews audits of state programs.

Mallory said he didn’t know whether King asked Cadman to replace him on the committee, or if the minority leader contacted King about it…

King, who has served on the committee since January 2011, had been chairman of the bipartisan audit committee since January. He was replaced by Sen. Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City. The only public message about that appointment was by Grantham himself on his own Facebook page when the committee held its August meeting last week.

Because Sen. King has not chosen to resign from his lame-duck senate seat, obviously something had to be done here. Under different circumstances, the end of an indicted politician’s career is often a lurid death watch, with every procedural move on their way out the door a well-documented public spectacle. Remember Rep. Laura Bradford’s DUI/legislative immunity career-ender? Every step in the investigation was a story. When Bradford issued any kind of statement on the matter, there was a story. When she initially lost and then was reinstated to her committee chair, it was a story. When she decided not to run again–story.

So why is Sen. Steve King’s case flying largely under the radar? It looks to us like the Senate GOP believes they’ve learned a lesson from the Bradford saga, and did their best to keep their part of this story under wraps. Ashby has done a good job following developments, but Denver media has had curiously little to say about King’s indictment. There certainly remains the potential for King’s scandal to tarnish the Republican brand as a whole in the upcoming elections, perhaps more useful elsewhere than in the Senate District 7 race to succeed King itself (though Ray Scott can’t be enjoying this). If Democrats were to make an issue of GOP Senate leadership trying to keep King’s demotion under wraps…well, that would be a place to start, wouldn’t it?

Bottom line: it’s an election year, and we have this nagging thought that if Sen. Steve King had a (D) after his name instead of an (R), we’d be hearing a lot more about him right now. Maybe that’s just because Democrats are nicer about these things, or for whatever reason not as skilled at fanning the flames of scandal.

But on balance, it’s awfully tough to imagine better material to work with than a Republican state senator charged with a bunch of felonies.

Big Line Updates; Now, with Percentages!

We have occasionally changed the appearance of The Big Line from representing fractional odds to presenting percentages. It's a matter of preference, of course, but as Election Day nears and Colorado Pols attracts more and new readers, we figured now would be a good time to switch again to percentages.

Here's what we're currently thinking as to the main movers in the top races in Colorado. For the first time this cycle, we've also added Lines for State Senate and State House majorities, respectively.

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

Gardner has been throwing multiple messages at the wall of late, which is typically the sign of a campaign that doesn't feel confident in the direction it is headed. There's a saying in football that if you are rotating more than one quarterback into the game, then you don't really have a quarterback. If you're a Gardner fan, this is a very difficult question to answer: What is his path to victory here?

 

GOVERNOR
John Hickenlooper (68%)
Bob Beauprez (32%)

While there has never been a point in this race where it really felt like Gov. Hickenlooper was in trouble, Hick has made enough errors that it has provided Beauprez with an opportunity. Still, Beauprez can't win just by running a decent race; if Hick stops his stumble, there's not enough room for Beauprez to squeeze past in November.
 

ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE TREASURER, SECRETARY OF STATE
With so much money going into races for the U.S. Senate and CD-6, there will be little oxygen left in the room for candidates in the other statewide races after Governor. It's difficult to tell at this stage whether any of the candidates will be able to do enough to make their own luck.
 

CD-6 (Aurora-ish)
Andrew Romanoff (54%)
Mike Coffman (46%)

We wrote earlier about our belief that Countdown Coffman is underway following incumbent Rep. Coffman's boorish behavior in last week's debates. We've been hearing consistent buzz that Romanoff is now rising steadily while Coffman seeks the momentum he needs to prevent a complete collapse.
 

STATE SENATE MAJORITY
DEMOCRATS (55%)
REPUBLICANS (45%)

We usually wait until this point in the cycle to attempt handicapping state legislative outcomes, but our analysis is similar to what we anticipated in the aftermath of the June Primary. Tea Party victories in two key Senate districts (SD-19 and SD-22) make winning the majority an uphill battle for Republicans.


STATE HOUSE MAJORITY
DEMOCRATS (75%)
REPUBLICANS (25%)

The ballot wasn't even completely settled until recently, but the direction of this battle has been clear for some time. Republicans have had difficulty even finding candidates for 2014; the GOP will be lucky not to lose a seat or two at this point.


Check out the full Big Line 2014 or comment below.

Laura Woods’ Donors Get to Pay for Tickets and Fines

Republican Laura Waters Woods is challenging Democratic Sen. Rachel Zenzinger in one of the most competitive State Senate districts in Colorado (SD-19, Arvada). Woods is going to need every penny she can raise in order to win a seat that has been held by Democrats for more than a decade…so it's probably not a good idea for her to be spending campaign resources to pay off parking fines and other late fees.

Check out this screenshot from her most recent campaign finance report:

Laura Woods Expenditures

Donate now so that Laura Waters Woods can pay for parking tickets!

There is nothing illegal about using campaign funds to pay for things like parking tickets and late-filing fees, but this is pretty unusual — and not very smart.

Tim Neville Could (Still) Be in Serious Trouble

Neville-FundraisingPage2

See the option for “contribute anonymously” on Neville’s fundly page? Yeah, you can’t do that.

UPDATE (8/19/14): According to a second letter sent to Tim Neville from Christopher O'Dell, questions remain as to what happened with all of the "anonymous" donors that appeared on his campaign website. Neville responded to the initial letter with a short email explaining that these anonymous donations were indeed accounted for in his campaign finance reports, but Neville has yet to get into detail about the more than 50 anonymous donations that had appeared on his Fundly.com campaign website.

—–

As Eli Stokols reports for Fox 31:

Tim Neville, a Republican running for a Jefferson County state senate that could determine which party controls the chamber next year, has been accused of violating Colorado’s campaign finance laws — by a fellow Republican.

Christopher O’Dell, a former Jefferson County GOP chairman, sent Neville a letter Monday asking him to explain apparent violations of campaign finance laws allowing for anonymous contributions of no more than $20 and individual contributions of no more than $400.

According to fundraising information linked publicly on Neville’s own campaign website, Neville has received around a dozen anonymous contributions exceeding the $20 limit, including one as large as $400.

Neville, who was appointed to fill the vacant District 22 seat in 2011 only to see his seat disappear during reapportionment in 2012 when he was drawn into S.D. 16, also appears to have received at least three contributions from individuals that exceed the $400 limit.

Campaign finance violations are, unfortunately, an all too-common occurence in Colorado politics, but there are two pieces to this story that could make Neville's troubles particularly concerning.

Neville is the Republican candidate in SD-16, challenging Democratiic Sen. Jeanne Nicholson in what we've said before is likely to be the single most competitive State Senate race in 2014. That means that Democrats have every incentive to pursue these violations as far as possible. This leads us to the second major problem for Neville — the more you follow this rabbit down the hole, the more curious it gets.

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GOP’s Breakdown In Jeffco Increasingly Evident

Beneath the election season bravado.

Beneath the election season bravado.

Vic Vela of Colorado Community Media has an excellent summary of the state of play in Jefferson County legislative races, where Republicans hungry for a win in 2014 have been dealt a major setback via bungled candidate recruitment and insurgent hard-right primary wins. It's a story we've been talking about here for some months now, but as the primary winners for the Republican Party start campaigning for the general election, the problems facing Jefferson County Republicans are increasingly undeniable to even the fairest-minded of journalists:

A Senate seat win in Jeffco in November could flip party control in that chamber. String together a couple of victories in Jeffco House races and things get interesting there.

So why then, with so much on the line, have Republican candidates in Jefferson County been making news of late for all the wrong reasons?

Since June, three Jeffco Republican candidates seeking House and Senate seats have been accused of violating campaign finance disclosure laws — though the allegations at this point are unproven.

Meanwhile, another candidate in a House race has been tangled in a court battle over whether she's even going to be allowed on the November ballot — and that's after the previous Republican hopeful in that district withdrew his candidacy after his ties to white supremacism became known.

And political analysts have wondered since June whether Jefferson County primary voters were wise to pick candidates who might be too conservative to win Senate races in districts that are evenly split in party registration numbers.

Vela touches on a number of Jefferson County races where extremist candidates, unqualified candidates, and late replacement candidates trying to salvage the situation have hobbled Republicans out of the gate. There's HD-29, where Republican Robert Ramirez pulled out of the race at the last minute to be replaced by hard-right movie theater owner Susan Kochevar. In HD-23, where Republicans are still reeling from white supremacist Nate Marshall's aborted candidacy. And of course Republican Senate nominees Laura Waters Woods and Tony Sanchez, both distantly to the right of the mainstream in their swing districts after Rocky Mountain Gun Owners' support helped them defeat more electable contenders.

Right now, the bravado from Colorado Republicans as election season approaches is perhaps at the highest level we've seen at any point since Democrats took control of the state legislature in Colorado almost ten years ago. At the same time, even GOP stalwarts like former GOP chairman Dick Wadhams have flatly stated that candidates like Woods and Sanchez cannot win in competitive Jefferson County. The victory of RMGO's favored hard-right favorites could well result in a terrible disappointment for Republicans on Election Night as winnable races slip from their grasp. And the real twist? The "momentum" claimed by Republicans in state legislative races today is in large part due to gun rights hysteria whipped up by RMGO!

Either way, folks, the GOP is dancing with the ones that brung 'em. So there's not much to pity.

AFP Has Money To Burn on Bogus Obamacare Ads

As the Colorado Independent's John Tomasic reports, two new Obamascare ads from big-ticket conservative activist group Americans for Prosperity are freshly running in Colorado–and the organization's highly dubious track record for accuracy appears little improved:

The words in the ad are chosen carefully. Health care costs had been on the rise for decades, which was the main motivation driving health care wonks on the right and left to design the policies that became the Affordable Care Act. In fact, costs have leveled off recently. FactCheck.org in February summarized the debate over why the costs are leveling and said it was just too early to tell how the Affordable Care Act will affect costs in the future…

AFP zeros in on Udall over the issue of policy cancellations.

“335,000 Coloradans received a cancellation notice,” says the narrator. “What did Mark Udall do? He tried to hide it. Udall pressured state officials to report fewer policy cancellations to make Obamacare look better.”

As our readers know, this is not even close to accurate–but it summarizes the Republican deception in the flap last winter over supposed policy "cancellations." The fact is, as we've discussed repeatedly, over 90% of those "cancellations" were in fact renewal notices. Udall's inquiry with the state sought to establish that, and the state's commissioner of insurance Marguerite Salazar said "the Senator’s efforts were useful" in getting the facts right. We now know that not only did these hundreds of thousands of policyholders remain insured, but the rate of uninsured in Colorado has plunged from 17% of the population to only 11%.

Like we said about Karl Rove's Obamascare ad a few days ago, these ads are too late. The dire predictions didn't materialize. The public can see that with their own eyes. Too many thousands of Coloradans have Obamacare success stories to tell now, not horror stories.

But as the Independent's Tomasic continues, that isn't even slowing down AFP:

The other anti-Obamacare ad released by AFP today targets three Democratic state senators from swing Jefferson County — Cheri Jahn, Andy Kerr and Jeanne Nicholson. Democrats enjoy a mere one-seat majority in the Senate and Republicans are gunning to flip the balance.

The ad says the lawmakers “made Obamacare worse” in Colorado by approving the establishment of the Connect for Health state insurance exchange marketplace.

This second AFP ad (above), targeting Colorado Democratic Sens. Cheri Jahn, Andy Kerr, and Jeanne Nicholson, is nothing short of ridiculous for anyone who knows the story of Colorado's bipartisan-created health insurance marketplace. By every objective measure, the Colorado health insurance marketplace has performed much better than either the federal exchange or the exchanges in most other states, not worse. Just today, a study from the Urban Institute says that the Colorado exchange is highly competitive and offers consumers low premiums. Although Colorado's exchange website had some startup issues, they were resolved far quicker than the federal exchange's infamous chronic breakdowns. It is demonstrably a false statement that Colorado's health insurance exchange "made Obamacare worse"–as Republican sponsors of the exchange like Rep. Amy Stephens are more than happy to tell you, our exchange made Obamacare better.

Bottom line: Americans for Prosperity has released so many false ads about Obamacare–and don't take our word for it, consult any fact-checker you trust–that it's clear at this point the truth is simply not a priority for this organization. That sounds like a typical campaign-season accusation, but it's true in this case beyond the usual back-and-forth. This is an organization spending literally millions of dollars to spread messages that are demonstrably, objectively not true. They are doing it because they know more people will see their ads than will see the fact-check stories disproving them.

In ways that should merit bipartisan outrage, this group sums up what's wrong with politics in America today.

Randy Baumgardner: Native Americans Liked their Water to be Burning

FireWater

Hooray!

The Western Conservative Summit in Colorado is an annual event hosted by Colorado Christian University in which conservative Republicans of varying degrees of partisan fame descend on Denver to say weird things about important issues. The Summit never fails in producing gems of ridiculousness, and the conversations and events that take place in Denver are so multi-layered that they often provide stories for the media and blogs long after the event has ended.

It is from July's Western Conservative Summit that we bring you, via Raw Story, this absurd discussion between State Sen. Randy "The Mustache" Baumgarder (who was an honest-to-goodness candidate for U.S. Senate for a time) and Republican activist (and likely the newest Representative from HD-15), Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt. Baumgardner was a guest on Dr. Chaps' "Pray in Jesus' Name" radio show, and this happened:

“I’ve been doing a lot of the fracking seminars,” said Baumgardner, “and if people haven’t been, then they really don’t understand it.”

“They talk about methane in the water and this, that, and the other,” Baumgardner went on, “but if you go back in history and look at how the Indians traveled, they traveled to the ‘burning waters.’ And that was methane in the waters and that was for warmth in the wintertime.” [Pols emphasis]

“So a lot of people,” he said, “if they just trace back the history, they’ll know how a lot of this is propaganda.”

Randy Baumgardner.

Randy Baumgardner and Mustache

Um, what?

We're not sure what this particular line of "thinking" has to do with fracking, but it is one of the dumbest things we've heard on the topic in quite some time. Sure, maybe the "Indians traveled…to the 'burning waters,'" but what the hell does that have to do with fracking? The fracking argument is primarily about the safety of DRILLING for oil and gas on lands that are surrounded by homes and schools, which has nothing to do with Native Americans and burning lakes and whatever else The Mustache is talking about.

What is most disturbing here is that we have an elected State Senator (and former State House member) who is wandering around Colorado talking about 'burning waters' and 'Indians.'

Why is Baumgardner doing "fracking seminars" when he obviously has no idea what he's talking about?

Or did we just answer our own question?