‘Bundy Bob’ and the Great Public Land Swindle

Maybe his new moniker ought to be ‘Bundy Bob Beauprez’ because he shares at least one trait with crazy Cliven the Nevada welfare-rancher that got caught-and-released for ripping off the American taxpayer.  Neither think that America’s public lands ought to belong to the American public.

PHOTO CAPTION: This Republican leader–father of America's National Parks and the U.S. National Forest Service–knew how to pose with a horse, like here on a visit to Colorado.

Now Bundy Bob might not have thought this through, threw out some red meat to the kindly crowd of wizened sagebrush veterans, but it turns out Coloradans—like most Americans—love our public lands, our Rocky Mountain and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Parks.  Our purple mountains majesty, our iconic Wilderness Areas, turned 50 this very year, our National Forests and National Wildlife Refuges.  Not apparently Bob Beauprez who thinks they ought not belong to America at all, but be ‘taken over’ by the state. Go ahead, give the Grand Canyon to Jan Brewer and Zion to a committee of the Utah Legislature.

Americans hate this idea, by the way, which still seems to get  recycled more than Reagan quips at a CPAC function, and polling routinely shows it.  Pretty much whenever the question is asked, like here, and here, and here.

With good reason, when lands are taken out of the national estate, they no longer offer the same small ‘d’ democratic ideal of a public domain. Turns out they cost a lot of money to manage, so selling them off to private interests, developers, frackers, miners, and the like is something a cash-strapped state trying to fund tax breaks for the wealthy can ill afford to avoid. Or so it seems when one bothers to actually track down data.  

<< PHOTO CAPTION: Hard-working American relaxes after earning money to have things like National Parks to visit and enjoy, looks out upon God's glorious creation at the awe-inspiring Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, designated with an Act of Congress sponsored by Republicans Scott McInnis and Ben Nighthorse-Campbell.  Notorious real estate extortionist Tom Chapman once threatened to build luxury homes lining the rim of the Black Canyon.  Apparently he would find a sympathetic ear with Colorado Republican candidate Bob Beauprez who wants to seize America's public lands in Colorado for unknown purposes.  

As the orange men (no, not John Boehner trick-or-treaters or monarchists) appear in our woods and meadows, we can remind ourselves of the economic boon that Colorado’s federal public lands provide the state.  And to the people of the state and to all the states. To all of us and our fellow Americans, that all pay for their upkeep.  We can all feel pride that Colorado helps steward this part of a great American legacy–our public lands.

Bundy Bob is out-of-touch, because most Americans agree that our public lands should not be taken away from Americans.  Nor should they be placed up for political chit by an over ambitious already-failed gubernatorial candidate.  Because both ways means Coloradans get swindled.  

Big Line Updates: Democrats Appear to Have Slight Advantage

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

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

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

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

Neither would we.


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

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


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


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

Check out the full Big Line 2014 or comment below.


Beauprez says he’d have been put “behind bars” if Making Colorado Great ad were true

In his first response to Making Colorado Great’s ad, now airing on Colorado TV, gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez said if the ad were true, “somebody would have probably prosecuted me and put me behind bars.”

Appearing this morning on KNUS 710-AM radio’s Dan Caplis show, Beauprez said:

Beauprez: “Dan, you’re a lawyer, you understand this. The most recent [ad] essentially accuses me of bank fraud. That’s a very, very serious violation. If there was a shred of truth to it, there would be an FDIC investigation. Somebody would have probably prosecuted and put me behind bars, if there was any truth to it, whatsoever. Of course, there is none. That doesn’t matter to Michael Huttner who put the ad together, and the Democratic Governors’ Association, who’s paying for it. You know, it’s just implications, but I think people are seeing it as just grossly over the top, and really a pretty sad indictment on the desperation of John Hickenlooper.”

Caplis told Beaprez that he hopes Gov. John Hickenlooper will be blamed for the ad, even though the ad was produced by Making Colorado Great, which is by law separated from the governor.

Beauprez: ”Well, I hope so, too. I mean, the stuff that they’re implying, directly accusing me of in the ad is just totally false. [It] couldn’t happen, frankly, in a bank sale that is so scrutinized by regulators, multiple exams, total disclosure. I mean, it’s absolutely ludicrous, the claims that — and I wasn’t even in the bank! I was in a management role in the bank, and still they say this. Yeah, anywhere else in the real world, somebody would be answering to the lies that they perpetrated. This is the crazy world of politics.”

Listen to Beauprez’s thoughts on Making Colorado Great’s ad

Frantic Republicans Try Really Weird Pivot on Women’s Issues

Laura Carno

Laura Carno

It's no secret that Republicans in Colorado have been having a heck of a time trying to convince women to vote for them in recent years. In 2010, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet defeated Republican challenger Ken Buck thanks primarily to strong support from female voters (assisted by Buck's tone-deafness around women's issues). In 2014, Republican candidates such as Bob Beauprez, Cory Gardner, and Mike Coffman are facing similar electoral conundrums when it comes to appeasing their right wing base and trying to attract the support of moderate women in Colorado.

Republicans have yet to figure out how to deal with their problem of (not) appealing to female voters — and make no mistake about the size of the problem. As noted on Colorado Pols today, Beauprez is on the record in a very Todd Akin-like manner on abortion, declaring that he believes abortion should be outlawed with no exceptions for rape or incest. Both Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman are rowing the same boat.

If you are a Republican, how do you reach out to women voters while your candidates are simultaneously making them cringe? When all else fails, apparently, you do your best to tell women that these issues don't really matter anyway. Check out this guest commentary from the Denver Post over the weekend in which Republican activist/consultant Laura Carno sacrifices the interests of the GOP base at the altar of election-year panic:

Since the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade has "survived" the pro-life presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush

…a deafening barrage of political commercials is now telling women their reproductive rights are in danger. Let's be clear: They aren't. [Pols emphasis]

In other words, don't worry about Bob Beauprez's far-right view on abortion because Republicans can't or won't change the law anyway.


Lest you think these are the words of a lone wolf activist, you should know that Carno is the founder of an organization called "I Am Created Equal," which lists among the members of its "Advisory Board" — wait for it — Bob Beauprez himself.

You can't make this stuff up.

Carno's guest commentary is incredibly enlightening in offering a peak at Republican strategic thinking on the even of the election. Clearly, the GOP has no idea how to deal with their "women voters" problem, which is never going to go away until Republican candidates stop taking positions that are offensive to female voters.

Without putting forth more moderate candidates, this is certainly a difficult conundrum for Republican strategists to ponder. But we dare say that Carno's messaging isn't helpful for a lot of reasons.

For one thing, there are plenty of right-wing Republicans waiting in the wings who will use this message to defeat moderate Republicans in future Primary Elections.

And then there is this closing argument from Carno, which takes us full-circle back to the original problem:

The option for a woman to choose a legal abortion is only one issue out of many. And since that option is not likely in jeopardy, look at the other choices that are important to you and your family, including health care, take-home pay and your family's safety.

Why would you bring up "take-home pay" for women when politicians such as Rep. Mike Coffman have voted again and again and again to deny legislation that would ensure equal pay for women? Why would you bring up equal pay for women when Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is the co-sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and your Republican candidate for Governor (Beauprez) is on the record in opposition?

See, female voters shouldn't just worry about issues like abortion, because Republican candidates are just as bad on fair pay for women!

Carno is trying really hard here to discount the idea of a "War on Women," while at the very same time demonstrating that Republicans wouldn't be fighting for women if such a war did exist. (Not) well played.


In case you don’t think Beauprez’s abortion stance is important

(Beauprez's Todd Akin moment, this is a must-read – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

I wrote last week about gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's comment, unchallenged by reporters, that he believes a governor has "very limited impact" on a woman's right to choose–even though he told Colorado Public Radio back in 2006 that he'd sign a bill outlawing abortion, if such a bill landed on his desk.

If you're a reporter, and you're inclined to sluff this off, because Beauprez isn't thumping his chest about banning abortion nowadays, you need to know more of what he said during that interview with CPR's Ryan Warner back in 2006.

You can read his exact words below, but, to summarize, he dismisses the notion of making abortion exceptions for rape an incest with, "No. No. I don't make exceptions for that."

He also said, specifically, that he'd support a law preventing a raped 16-year-old girl from having the right to choose abortion, saying pregnancies resulting from rape are "relatively few" and the "child" conceived by the rape should not be punished.

Here's a partial transcript of the interview:

HOST RYAN WARNER: Let’s start with abortion. As governor, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, would you sign a bill banning all abortions in Colorado?

BOB BEAUPREZ: As long as it protected the life of the mother, I would.

WARNER: Rape? Incest? Anything like that?

BEAUPREZ: No. No, I don’t make exceptions for that.

WARNER: Would you seek such a bill?


WARNER: Or would you sign it if it came to your desk.

BEAUPREZ: I believe that what happened up in — I believe it was North Dakota, or South Dakota –North, if I remember right.

WARNER: South Dakota

BEAUPREZ: South Dakota, excuse me. I thought that was a legitimate question to put in front of the people again. And I thought that’s what South Dakota did. If there was a move mood within the legislature, I’d, uh — I would applaud that.

WARNER: Let me give you what is admittedly an extreme hypothetical. A sixteen-year-old girl is raped. She and her parents want to get an abortion for her. They would pay for it, it wouldn’t be state dollars. You would support a law preventing her from getting an abortion under those circumstances?

BEAUPREZ: Yes, and I’ll tell you very simply why.

WARNER: Please.

BEAUPREZ: I don’t think it’s the child’s fault. And I think we either protect life — all life, especially the most innocent of life — or we don’t. The situations of rape or incest, and pregnancies resulting from, are relatively few. And I think, unfortunately, what we have done, sometimes, is use rather what we think of as extreme exceptions, to justify a carte blanche abortion policy that has resulted in– well in excess, as I understand it, of a million abortions a year in our nation. Tragically, I think, in some of our ethnic communities we’re seeing very, very high percentages of babies, children, pregnancies, end in abortion. And I think it’s time that we have an out in the open discussion about what that means.

WARNER: Do you know which ethnic communities, in particular?

BEAUPREZ: I’ve seen numbers as high as 70% –maybe even more– in the African American community, that I think is just appalling. And I’m not saying that it’s appalling on them. I’m saying it’s appalling that something is happening to encourage that. Frankly, it raises another question, you know? Do we think it is okay that that many African American babies aren’t allowed to be born and live an otherwise normal life and reach the blessings, the fullness of the American Dream. I think those are very serious, very intense, very personal questions that a society such as ours ought to ponder. [BigMedia Note, After being called out by MediaMatters of Colorado, Beauprez later admitted that his 70% figure was incorrect.]

WARNER: Do you believe the state has a role in preventing unwanted pregnancies?

BEAUPREZ: Yes. Yeah, and I’ve supported abstinence training, for example, which is very consistent with my belief and my background. I think that’s a very appropriate role. Some, certainly, their beliefs embrace birth control and the use of condoms. I think that kind of awareness is fine. I’ve got, you know, my own personal beliefs. But I think we need to — certainly need to provide that kind of education to people.

WARNER: Just to briefly–

BEAUPREZ: –especially to young people, I might add.

WARNER: On your personal beliefs, where do you stand on birth control and prophylactics?

BEAUPREZ: We don’t use them. I’m Catholic. And I’m Catholic by choice, and I embrace the teachings of my church, and so we’ve used what our church calls — and I think is widely recognized as ‘natural family planning’ It served me and my wife very, very well.

This interview is proof positive that reporters should ask Bob Beauprez to clarify, precisely, what kind of abortion restrictions (counseling, MRI's, hospital requirements, etc.) he'd impose in Colorado, if legislation, for example, requiring a woman to view an MRI of her fetus before being allowed to have an abortion, as passed in other states, is presented to him for his signature.

Gubernatorial, Senate, CD3 Debates Oct 2-9 in Pueblo

Save the dates for debates:

Governor Candidate Debate (Hickenlooper vs. Beauprez)

Thursday,October 2, 7 PM

CD3 Representative Debate (Tapia vs. Tipton) 
Tuesday, October 7, 6 PM

US Senate Debate (Udall vs. Gardner) 
Thursday, October 9, 7 PM

All forums to be held at Pueblo Memorial Hall 
1 City Hall Pl, Pueblo, CO 81003
(866) 722-8844


Sponsored by Action22 and the Pueblo Chieftain


Quinnipiac Senate Poll: Ah, Nevermind

Jumping the polling shark

Meanwhile, over at Quinnipiac University…

The big news in Colorado politics yesterday was the release of a Quinnipiac University poll on the Governor's race showing — rather unbelievably, really — Republican Bob Beauprez leading Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper by an astounding 10-point margin. Quinnipiac's findings were roundly dismissed by political and polling experts around the country, and perhaps rightly so, given that no other publicly-available polls have ever indicated anything even remotely similar in the Governor's race.

So it was that today Quinnipiac released results from its polling of the U.S. Senate race, and guess what? According to Quinnipiac, Republican Congressman Cory Gardner is leading Democratic Sen. Mark Udall by a not-at-all-believable 8 points. As the Mark Matthews of the Denver Post explains:

The survey of more than 1,200 likely Colorado voters favored Gardner 48 to 40 percent to the incumbent Udall, with independent, or unaffiliated, candidate Steve Shogan taking home 8 percent

Quinnipiac's findings depart significantly from a Denver Post poll conducted last week that found Udall leading Gardner by 4 percentage points.

Similarly, Gardner's biggest advantage over Udall before the latest Quinnipiac results was 2 percentage points, according to a tally of more than dozen polls of both likely and registered voters recorded by Real Clear Politics. Other recent polls have shown the Udall and Gardner in a statistical tie or even a Udall advantage.

There is absolutely no political "spin" required in response to this poll, because the explanation is pretty simple: if Quinnipiac is correct, then every other polling outfit in the country has been wrong. Just in case you are still conflicted about the answer to the previous question, consider this nugget from The Post:

Prior to Wednesday's release, Beauprez biggest lead was 1 percentage point, even among other polls of likely voters. Most recent polls have shown the two gubernatorial candidates within the margin of error.

In both of its polls this week, Quinnipiac relied on the same 1,211 likely Colorado voters contacted between Sept. 10 and Sept. 15. [Pols emphasis]

Now, we're no polling experts here at Colorado Pols, but if the same group of respondents are giving you the same outlier answers on the race for Governor and U.S. Senate, it's a good bet that your sample is screwed up. If that isn't evidence enough for you, consider this: Quinnipiac has Independent candidate Steve Shogan picking up enough support for 8 percent of the vote. To understand the silliness of that result, consider that in 2010, there was no Independent candidate for Governor or U.S. Senate who received even 1 percent of the vote. Obviously there are a bunch of undecided voters in the Senate race, which is no surprise, but it's completely absurd to postulate that an Independent candidate is nearing 10% of the vote in Colorado.

You can go ahead and ignore the Quinnipiac polling results from this week — and probably for the rest of the 2014 election cycle. Consider this shark officially jumped.

Round and Round and Round We Go…New Poll Has Hickenlooper Up 7

Polling disparity in Colorado governor's race

Another new poll shows Hickenlooper leading the Governor’s race by this much.

UPDATE: Or…maybe Hickenlooper is up by 2 points? After a morning of polling flurries, we'd say we're pretty well back to where we ended the day yesterday.

Earlier today, Quinnipiac University released polling results from the Colorado Governor's race that had Republican Bob Beauprez leading Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper by a 10-point margin. We were skeptical of these numbers when we first saw them, and apparently we weren't alone; as James Hohmann wrote in Politico, nobody who is paying close attention to this race actually believes that Beauprez has a 10-point lead.

The Quinnipiac poll results were questionable from the jump because the results are such an extreme outlier compared to all of the other publicly-available polling in this race…including those from yet another new poll. According to Project New America, a progressive research organization with a long history of polling in Colorado, their data shows Hickenlooper with a 7-point lead over Beauprez:

- John HIckenlooper leads by seven points in Colorado (51% to 44%). The gap in strong support is similar (+7), with 49% firmly in the Governor’s camp and 42% solidly behind Beauprez.

- Importantly, in the Governor’s race, while Hickenlooper holds a slight edge among self-identified independents (47 percent for Hickenlooper to 43 percent for Beauprez), Beauprez suffers from double-digit defections among self-identified Republicans (14 for Hickenlooper to 86 percent for Beauprez). Hickenlooper has far fewer defections among self-identified Democrats (he leads among them 91 to 5 percent).

- Notably, among the 94 percent of voters who can identify John Hickenlooper, positive impressions of him remain slightly higher than negative impressions with 44 percent expressing warm, favorable feelings and 39 percent expressing cool, unfavorable feelings. In contrast, among the 79 percent of voters who can identify Bob Beauprez today negative impressions outweigh positive ones by 4-points, with 34 percent expressing cool, negative feelings and 30 percent expressing warm, positive feelings.

You can debate whether you believe the Quinnipiac poll is more accurate than the Project New America poll, but the latter is much more comparable to last week's SurveyUSA/Denver Post poll on the Governor's race.

If this entire story seems somewhat familiar — it should. It was at about this same point in the 2006 Governor's race that Steve Paulson of the Associated Press inexplicably reported that the race between Beauprez and Democrat Bill Ritter was essentially a toss-up. That story was particularly absurd, given that every other known poll had Ritter with a better than double-digit lead over Beauprez (Ritter would win that race by a 17-point margin).

New Q-Poll: Beauprez 50%, Hickenlooper 40%

UPDATE #2: The Denver Post quotes other pollsters openly questioning Quinnipiac's numbers:

Jay Leve, editor of SurveyUSA, who oversaw a Denver Post poll released last week that had drastically different findings, questioned the Quinnipiac poll's results.

"We at SurveyUSA have a great deal of respect for Quinnipiac, but we don't see the race this way," he said. "This (poll) stands out as different than a collective of polls from across the country."

Leve cited the USA Today poll that had the same results as the SurveyUSA poll as proof of the Quinnipiac poll's inconsistency.


UPDATE: Politico's James Hohmann throws cold water on today's Q-poll:

No one in the game really believes that Beauprez is ahead by double digits a month-and-a-half out from the election. [Pols emphasis] A Denver Post/SurveyUSA poll last week had Hickenlooper up 2 points, 45-43, among likely voters. The NBC/Marist Poll in the field Sept. 2-4, showed Hickenlooper up 4 points, 43-39.

A Quinnipiac survey of registered voters from July put Beauprez up 1, 44 percent to 43 percent.

Quinnipiac, which also overestimated Mitt Romney’s standing in Colorado in [2012], didn’t release Senate numbers today. But the Senate ballot is likely to be better for GOP Rep. Cory Gardner than other public surveys when it comes out later in the week.


Bob Beauprez.

You say you want a revolution, well you know…

Just one day after 9NEWS reported that the Republican Governors Association's media buys in support of GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez have run out with no new buys on the horizon, a poll from Quinnipiac University today–outlier or not–challenges conventional wisdom about this race yet again. As FOX 31's Chuck Hikey reports:

In a stunning reversal from previous polling, a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning shows Republican gubernatorial challenger Bob Beauprez with a 10-point lead over Gov. John Hickenlooper less than two months from Election Day.

The poll from Connecticut-based Quinnipiac has Beauprez leading Hickenlooper 50 percent to 40 percent among likely voters.

In July, Quinnipiac had the race tied.

While 77 percent of likely voters say their mind is made up, 22 percent said they could change their mind in the next seven weeks.

The Colorado Springs Gazette's Megan Schrader:

The poll also asked voters whether they would say "John Hickenlooper is honest and trustworthy or not." According to the poll, 44 percent said no, while when asked the same question about Beauprez, 28 percent said no.

And while Beauprez has the support of 54 percent of the men polled and Hickenlooper has 34 percent, the two were essentially tied among women – a key demographic in the elections this year.

Hickenlooper is also behind with the support of independent voters, who in Colorado hold serious sway over election results, making up nearly a third of all registered voters.

And from Quinnipiac's memo:

"Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is behind the challenger on the key qualities voters want in a leader: honesty, caring and leadership," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll. 

"Pundits were predicting that Gov. Hickenlooper faced a close race for reelection. Instead, he's got a mad dash to make up a double-digit deficit. The Democrat does not get the traditional strong support from women to offset Bob Beauprez's army of support from men."

First of all, and it can be said without sounding at all defensive–this poll is most certainly an outlier unless corroborated by other polls. Only one other poll has shown a lead for Beauprez in this race, when conservative-leaning Rasmussen pegged Beauprez with a statistically insignificant 1-point lead earlier this month. Every other read of this race we have seen shows it to be too close to call, with Hickenlooper technically up by a point or two. As we said yesterday, we've heard rumors about internal polling that shows a bleaker picture for Republicans in both the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races. Up until this poll, though, all publicly available polling has been locked in a tight range.

Bottom line: even if this poll is quickly shown by other polling to be off as we suspect will happen, it gives a big boost to Beauprez's campaign in the short term. Conversely, Gov. John Hickenlooper's campaign can flog this poll with their donor base to instill a sense of urgency–perhaps less of an advantage given Hickenlooper's already massive leading in fundraising, but it will still be useful. Outlier or not, there's nothing about this poll that should make Hickenlooper's supporters complacent. With polling in the U.S. Senate race showing Mark Udall opening a small but persistent lead, problems unique to Hickenlooper (and fairly recent) are his own to remedy.

The only thing we can add is that there is still a very large gap between voter perception of Beauprez as evidenced in this poll, and the words that have come out of Beauprez's mouth into the permanent record. Aside from a couple of isolated exposures, the "WTF Gang"-worthy Bob Beauprez our readers know has never really been introduced to the public. Even worse, he's been misleadingly cast in the local press as a "mainstream moderate," a description that frankly baffles us given what we have reported in this space. How can that term be accurately used on a civil war-fantasizing birther who thinks climate change is a "complete hoax" and sees Sharia law lurking around every corner?

We've heard that information, properly presented, really changes the poll numbers. The problem is that the large majority voters only know what they are told, and they haven't been told much about Beauprez. In the next six weeks, whether Hickenlooper takes the gloves off or third party groups unleash the video clips we all know are out there, the other shoe will drop after Hickenlooper's undeniably tough political summer. In the end, we just don't think Hickenlooper can fall fast enough, or Beauprez rise high enough, to change the outcome.

It had better go down that way, because most people who know the full story are legitimately horrified by the prospect of Bob Beauprez actually being elected governor of Colorado.

Big Line Updates: Udall, Romanoff Growing Lead

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

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

Mark Udall (65%)
Cory Gardner (35%)

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


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

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

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

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

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

Check out the full Big Line 2014 or comment below.

SurveyUSA/Denver Post: Hickenlooper 45%, Beauprez 43%

Bob Beauprez would like for you to just take a nap for a few months.

Bob Beauprez would like for you to just take a nap for a few months.

This morning the Denver Post released results from polling partner SurveyUSA on the U.S. Senate race, and this afternoon they released information about their poll of the Governor contest. As reporter Jon Murray explains for the Post:

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper's race against Republican Bob Beauprez was too close to call in a new Denver Post poll in which voters indicated they were still getting familiar with the challenger.

Forty-five percent supported Hickenlooper and 43 percent supported Beauprez among likely voters polled this week by SurveyUSA. The result is within the margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.

We'll admit that it is a bit surprising to see Republican Bob Beauprez polling so close to Gov. John Hickenlooper. When Beauprez last ran for Governor in 2006, polling at this point in the race showed that he was already trailing Democrat Bill Ritter by double-digits in a race he went on to lose by a staggering 17-point margin. Beauprez isn't yet in the same kind of trouble in 2014, but when you dig a little deeper into the poll results, the upside isn't as bright for Both Ways Bob. Again, from the Post

Beauprez's figures had a positive spread: 38 percent favorable to 34 percent unfavorable.

But 28 percent said they needed to know more about Beauprez, a former congressman who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006, to form an opinion. Only 7 percent had no opinion about Hickenlooper.

Beauprez is polling so close to Hickenlooper largely because of the Governor's own summer of self-inflicted political wounds. Beauprez has a 34% unfavorable rating — and 28% of voters still say they don't know enough about him to form an opinion — which makes it clear that this is all about Hickenlooper's (un)popularity at this point. Poll respondents aren't saying, "We want Beauprez" as much as they are declaring "We're not real happy with Hickenlooper." This is a significant difference, which is summed up well by one telling quote from a poll respondent:

"He doesn't have a very strong backing from me, other than he's done a pretty good job in creating jobs for Colorado," said Chris Delaney, 29, a Denver resident who told SurveyUSA he planned to vote for Hickenlooper despite disapproving of his performance [Pols emphasis]. "But that's not the only thing a governor's supposed to do. He just doesn't seem to represent my views and things that are important to me."

Plenty of voters may disapprove of Hickenlooper's performance as Governor, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they want to replace him with Beauprez. And that's where things remain difficult for Beauprez; he can't control his own destiny. Beauprez needs Hickenlooper to lose voter support before he can win the race for himself, and there just isn't enough time for both things to happen.

The amount of negative information floating around about Beauprez is, in a word, staggering. Keep that in mind as we go back to that 28% of poll respondents who say they don't know enough about Beauprez — it's unlikely that uninformed voters are going to be attracted to Beauprez as they learn more about him.

If that 28% remains uninformed — and a barrage of pro-Hickenlooper TV ads don't change the Governor's numbers — then Beauprez has a chance in November. Barring a two-month power outage in Colorado, we don't see how that can happen.


New Marist, Rasmussen Polls Show Enduring Udall Lead

UPDATE: Another poll this weekend from CBS/New York Times: Mark Udall 46%, Cory Gardner 43%.


Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Noting two polls that came out over the weekend in the Colorado U.S. Senate race, the first polls in several weeks. First, from Marist College Institute for Public Opinion for NBC News, showing incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall up six points over GOP challenger Cory Gardner:

In the contest for U.S. Senate in Colorado, Democratic incumbent Mark Udall leads his Republican challenger, Cory Gardner, by six points among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate.  Udall’s advantage is due to his support among Latinos, independents, women, and young voters…

“Right now, Udall is disrupting GOP plans to add Colorado to its victory column as they seek a Senate majority,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “To seal the deal, Udall needs to mobilize young voters and Latinos who boosted Barack Obama in his presidential wins.”

…A plurality of Colorado likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 48%, supports Udall in the race for U.S. Senate in Colorado.  Gardner garners 42%.  Nine percent are undecided. Udall is bolstered by Latinos likely to participate.  He receives 60% compared with 27% for Gardner. 91% of Democrats likely to vote are for Udall while 87% of Republicans favor Gardner.  Among likely independent voters, Udall has 49% to 34% for Gardner. Udall is strongest among single women where he outpaces Gardner by 29 points, 56% to 27%.  Udall has a 16 point lead among single men. Udall and Gardner are competitive among married women, 46% to 45%.  Gardner has a strong lead against Udall among married men, 55% to 36%.

Here's the full memo on the Marist poll. It's worth noting that Marist showed Udall with a bigger lead in the last round of polling back in July–we'll want to see more polls to know if this is an outlier, or a sign that Udall is starting to pull away. Another poll from historically conservative Rasmussen Reports out Friday has Udall with a much smaller two-point lead over Gardner, 44% to 42%–still ahead after millions in negative advertising dollars expended, but remaining a tight race (and frankly closer to our gut feeling). In the gubernatorial race, Marist has incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper leading GOP challenger Bob Beauprez 43% to 39%, while Rasmussen has the race in a dead heat–with Beauprez up 45% to Hickenlooper's 44%.

After a curious dearth of polling during the month of August, we expect a flurry of results in the coming days to give us a clearer picture of where these two races are headed.

Pigeon Pie and Fracking Sage Grouse: On Caring for Our Furred, Finned, and Feathered Neighbors

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A recent story on National Public Radio about the last passenger pigeon’s death in the Cincinnati Zoo – 100 years ago on September 1—raises questions about the role and responsibility of humans in caring for the well-being of other species.

The passenger pigeon was once the most plentiful bird in North America, flocks of which would blacken the sun behind mile after mile of undulating clouds—driven to rapid extinction by human avarice, poor practice, and the absence of professional wildlife management that follows species, and science, even across state lines. 

Those human failures are what we remember the passenger pigeon for, as an article about its recent, sad anniversary in the NY Times noted: 

[We] remember the passenger pigeon because of the largest-scale human-caused extinction in history.  Possibly the most abundant bird ever to have existed, this gregarious pigeon once migrated in giant flocks that sometimes exceeded three billion, darkening the skies over eastern North America for days at a time. No wild bird in the world comes close to those numbers today. Yet 100 years ago this week, the very last pigeon of her kind died in her cage at the Cincinnati Zoo. Her name was Martha, and her passing merits our close attention today.

Martha’s passing merits our attention and reflection because we know better now, or at least we should.  Now we have professional wildlife management. And we have federal laws that can compel action if state management to protect vulnerable species is not sufficient to get the job done.


Bob Beauprez Returns to Face Referendum A

Referendum A

That’s one prickly letter.

The first General Election debate for Governor (and U.S. Senate) will be held tomorrow at the Club 20 annual event in Grand Junction. For Republican Bob Beauprez, it will also mean a return to the question of (eek!) Referendum A.

Referendum A is a 2003 ballot measure, endorsed by Beauprez, that aimed to divert a sizable chunk of Western Colorado water supplies to the Front Range of Colorado at a massive cost of $2 billion (the equivalent of $2 billion in 2003 would be…probably a lot in 2014. We're not going to look that up.) Now, there are couple of things for the uninitiated to understand about Referendum A before we proceed:

First of all, Referendum A was a stupid idea. Anyone who tells you otherwise is someone you don't need to be having conversations with any longer. Referendum A sought a ridiculous amount of money in order to maybe build some unspecified water projects that would take water from the Western Slope and pipe it to the Denver Metro area. Voters thought it was stupid, too. Referendum A was defeated by a 2-to-1 margin; there wasn't a county in Colorado that approved of Referendum A.

That such a bad idea would be so soundly rejected by Colorado voters created a lot of questions for politicians who supported the measure and campaigned for its passage. Several years later, in 2010, longtime Denver Post columnist Ed Quillen wondered if there was a Referendum A curse taking down Republican politicians who once supported the idea. Beauprez didn't lose the race for Governor in 2006 because of his prior support for Ref. A, but it didn't help his case with rural Colorado voters who will forever be angry at anyone who supported the water measure.

Which leads us back to Saturday's Club 20 debate. The anti-Beauprez group Making Colorado Great sent out a press release today (full text after the jump) as a reminder that Beauprez was a supporter of Ref. A. Ordinarily it wouldn't seem particularly important to bring up a 2003 ballot measure at a debate for Governor, but Beauprez's presence as the GOP nominee makes it relevant again; he is one of the few remaining Ref. A supporters who is still kicking around public office, and this debate is in the heart of the Western Slope community that fought against Ref. A more than a decade ago.

Like it or not, the question still matters for Beauprez because water rights are such a critical issue in most of Colorado.


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