AFP Colorado Deletes Twitter History, Bundy Defense

Last week 9News held a debate between Republican gubernatorial candidates Bob Beauprez, Scott Gessler and Mike Kopp (GOP frontrunner Tom Tancredo did not participate and continues to refuse any debate invitations). As we noted in this space, the candidates were asked about Cliven Bundy, the openly-racist Nevada rancher who has rallied armed supporters to back his refusal to recognize the federal government — primarily in order to avoid paying some 20 years worth of grazing rights fees — and all of the candidates came off as more or less supportive of Bundy. As Mike Littwin wrote for the Colorado Independent:

In summary, these people who want to be your governor seemed entirely unconcerned about someone bringing in his militia buddies to fight off the feds, whom he says he doesn't recognize as legitimate.

Why would Colorado Republican candidates even consider being supportive of Bundy? Because many right-wing Republicans and their Tea Party brethren apparently considered it some sort of conservative loyalty test, which is important for any candidate hoping to win a GOP Primary. Note that we wrote "considered," because even the most right-wing of right-wing groups would seem to have had a change of heart.

Consider this tweet from Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Colorado, the local version of the national group created and funded by the Koch Brothers. The image below is a tweet sent by AFP Colorado on April 19th in an effort to get more Republicans to join Sen. Rand Paul in supporting Bundy; as you can see, AFPColorado calls out Republicans as "wimps" for not following Paul's lead.

AFP-Bundy

We've included the image here because AFP Colorado has since deleted this tweet. In fact, AFP Colorado has erased its entire Twitter history for most of the last two months, as you can see below (or on its Twitter page). At the time of this post, AFP Colorado's Twitter account shows only one tweet since February 20th — and no mention of the April 19th message above. The AFP Colorado account is far from inactive, having sent out 9 different tweets just today, so this was clearly an intentional scrubbing.

Americans for Prosperity had a tough week in Colorado last week, being forced to re-edit an anti-Obamacare, anti-Sen. Mark Udall ad just a few days after its planned Obamacare press conference imploded under the weight of a dubious key speaker. The scrubbing of its Twitter account is another very public sign that all is not well in Tea Party land.

AFP-Twitter

Red-Light Camera Ban Passes Senate

UPDATE: Food for thought as legislators consider Senate Bill 14-181, here are some interesting points in favor of red light cameras from the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police:

Year-to-year changes in red-light running fatalities reveal an average annual decrease of 5.6% from 2007 to 2011. U.S. and worldwide studies show a 25 to 30 % reduction in injury crashes at locations with red-light safety cameras, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports. A five-year study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2011 found red-light cameras saved more than 150 lives in 14 of the largest U.S. cities, reducing fatalities by 24 percent.

Cameras get drivers’ attention, and reduce the most dangerous type of collisions – right angle crashes. A 2011 Texas Transportation Institute study of 11,122 crash records from 275 intersections showed 633 fewer crashes at intersections with cameras; and a 32% decrease in right-angle crashes…

The use of photo speed radar enforcement is already strictly limited to residential streets, school zones and construction zones. It can be used only where the speed limits is not more than 35 miles per hour. A violator must be exceeding the speed limit by at least 10 miles per hour to receive a ticket. Photo speed radar vans are manned by qualified personnel. Red light cameras are deployed at selected high risk intersections. Fines are limited to a maximum $40 for speeding and $75 for red light infractions. No points are assessed against a driver’s record.

—–

red-light-camera

As the Denver Post's Kurtis Lee reports, the red-light camera ban bill, supported by a bipartisan election-year coalition and hotly opposed by local government reaping big bucks from installed cameras, has passed the Colorado Senate:

At its core, Senate Bill 181 would bar local municipalities from using automated vehicle-identification systems that pinpoint drivers. Along with red-light cameras, the measure includes photo radar cameras that detect speed.

The bill moved out of the Senate on a 21-14 vote. The only amendment attached allows for toll roads to continue using photo radar cameras that detect speed.

The measure has support from Democrats and Republicans in the legislature. Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday was noncommittal toward the bill. Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said at an afternoon news conference he's seen earlier versions of the bill, but has yet to view its current form.

"I think there are a number of people that feel a level of anger over what they feel is an intrusion and is not making their roads safer, and their opinion is that it's a way for local governments to try to increase their revenues," Hickenlooper said when asked about his personal views on the concept of banning photo red-light cameras. "That creates a real frustration in a lot of elected officials."

Gov. John Hickenlooper's sympathy for those poor, misunderstood elected officials notwithstanding, the public at large seems to be the most "frustrated" party over red-light cameras. The disagreement over the public safety value of these systems is difficult to sort through legitimately, due to what's perceived to be an ulterior motive to raise badly-needed revenue for local government–one thing red-light cameras excel at. Sometimes it falls to your humble hosts to remind our readers that revenue for our local governments is a good thing, or failing that at least a necessary evil–and if TABOR won't let governments get it the old-fashioned way, they've got to get creative.

A poll follows: will Gov. Hickenlooper sign Senate Bill 14-181 if it passes?

(more…)

15 Years Ago Today: Columbine

columbinememorial

The Denver Post's Allison Noon:

Sunday marks the 15th year since the shooting at Columbine High School in which 12 students and a teacher were killed.

Indigo columbine flowers were in bloom around the bases of 13 stone markers at the permanent Columbine Memorial in Littleton's Clement Park on Saturday, when about 50 people honored the victims with a remembrance program.

Colorado Ceasefire Capitol Fund organized the program at the park amphitheater ahead of the anniversary that falls this year on Easter Sunday. The program included speeches from family members of two Columbine shooting victims and two victims of the Aurora theater shooting.

CBS4:

“We are part of an unwanted family. None of us asked to be part of this family, family of survivors of mass tragedy,” said [Coni] Sanders.

Unfortunately, that family is growing.

Tom Sullivan lost his son in the Aurora theater shootings.

“Thank you for the courage you have all had since that day. It has certainly strengthened me in my private moments,” said Sullivan.

Sandy Phillips lost her daughter.

“Their lives meant something. Not just to their families, but to the communities that they lived in,” said Phillips.

Banning Red Light Cameras, Anyone?

red-light-camera

As the Denver Post's Kurtis Lee reports, a bill to prohibit red light cameras in Colorado is gaining some bipartisan momentum:

A proposal introduced in the Senate late last week would bar cities and counties from using automated vehicle-identification systems that pinpoint drivers committing traffic infractions.

Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, has introduced similar legislation the past two years, though unlike in previous sessions, he has strong support this go-round from House and Senate Democratic leadership.

"These cameras just create revenue for cities and don't actually increase public safety at our intersections," said Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, the bill's prime House sponsor. "I think we should be focused on making people safe, not raising money." [Pols emphasis]

As Lee reports, local governments are raking in millions in fines from relatively low-overhead automatic camera enforcement at intersections. Not surprisingly, the Colorado Municipal League doesn't like this bill one bit–though they cite the public safety considerations, not the revenue. At the end of the day, money talks: and the badly needed revenue these cameras provide may prove reason enough to keep them with no further debate needed.

What say you, Polsters? Red-light liberty, public safety, or cash?

Republican Party Imploding In Most Important Electoral County in Colorado

Nate Marshall, GOP candidate for HD-23.

Nate Marshall, GOP candidate for HD-23.

UPDATE #3: Nate Marshall not ready to formally resign as candidate in HD-23 (h/t to Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman). In a diatribe posted on Marshall's website (all CAPS is how it appears on Marshall's site), the candidate says that Jeffco GOP Chair Bill Tucker "[threw] him under the bus":

I AM DONE WITH THE RACE BUT I WILL NOT FILE THE PAPERWORK UNTIL THE JEFFERSON COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY AND COLORADO GOP MAKE AMENDS WITH THE TEAPARTY WHO BETTER REPRESENT CONSERVATIVES THAN RINOS LIKE BILL TUCKER. WE DO NOT NEED SELLOUTS LIKE HAVE INFECTED THE STATE AND COUNTY PARTY! WE NEED TRUE CONSERVATIVES.

BY STATE LAW YOU CANNOT BE REMOVED FROM A BALLOT UNLESS YOU SIGN A NOTARIZED FORM OF WHICH I POSSESS BUT HAVE DECIDED NOT TO FILE. I MAY JUST SIT ON THE DESIGNATION AND GIVE THE SEAT TO THE DEMOCRATS.. IMAGINE IF THEY GET 32-32 AND IN ORDER TO GET THE MAJORITY ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS WELL RESPECT THAT I LEGALLY AND MORALLY HOLD ALL THE CARDS AS I WAS LEGALLY AND CONSTITUTIONALLY DESIGNATED.

I DO NOT WANT TO RUN AND AM NOT BUT AM LEFT WITH LITTLE CHOICE BUT TO PROTECT MYSELF AND FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES BY STANDING UP TO THESE RINO BULLIES AS BEST I CAN.

We'll continue to update this story as it develops.

—–

UPDATE #2: The Colorado Independent confirms big news from Republican Rick Enstrom (who ran in HD-23 in 2012) that Nate Marshall was recruited to run by Tim Neville, the Republican candidate in SD-16 who has been endorsed by RMGO:

Embattled Colorado state House candidate Nathaniel Marshall was reportedly recruited to run for office by state Senate candidate Tim Neville, a prominent Colorado Republican politi

Republican Senate candidate Tim Neville (SD-16)

Republican Senate candidate Tim Neville (SD-16)

cian with close ties to far-right kingmaker Dudley Brown…

…Rick Enstrom, a prominent candy business executive and onetime Republican House candidate, tweeted Wednesday that Marshall told him that he was recruited to run by Neville. Today Enstrom confirmed that assertion in a phone interview.

“I’m not running for anything, and Tim Neville is a friend of mine but, hey, the facts are the facts,” he told the Colorado Independent.

This is a pretty significant twist to how a white supremacist career criminal could become the Republican nominee for House District 23. While Neville may claim that he didn't know about Marshall's past, it's hard to

 

believe that you could have conversations with the guy and not suspect anything strange. Anyone who followed Marshall on Facebook or Twitter would have seen some of this stuff.

(more…)

Tim Neville’s Statement Does Not Make Suspicions Of Link Between Him/RMGO And Nathaniel Marshall Unfounded

(Worse and worse – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Colorado Independent has been investigating the circumstances that led to Nathaniel Marshall, a person with significant ties to white supremacism, to enter the race for Colorado HD-23.  As an early result of that investigation, the Independent's John Tomasic reported yesterday that signs had emerged indicating that Tim Neville – a person with significant ties to Rocky Mountain Gun Owner's Association ("RMGO") - recruited Nathaniel Marshall to run for HD-23.  The signs relied on by Tomasic's article consisted of the following:

1) Rick Enstrom, a prominent candy business executive and onetime Republican House candidate, specifically claiming that Marshall admitted he was recruited by Neville at the Jefferson County Assembly ("Enstrom's Statements")

2) Dudley Brown, RMGO's Executive Director, admitting that per RMGO political director Joe Neville, Tim Neville spoke with Marshall at "an event" ("Brown's Statement")

In response to Tomasic's article, Tim Neville last night put forth the following statement on Facebook (accessible here):

"Regarding the leftist hit piece published today posing as a news story in the Colorado Independent:  I spoke with its author John Tomasik [sic] and told him I had no connection with Mr. Marshall's campaign- not as an endorser or financial donor or supporter.   I suggested Mr. Tomasic retract his story because it’s false.  Then he asked me if I ever met Mr. Marshall and I had to explain to him that I meet hundreds of people each week on the campaign trail.  Then he hung up on me.  Shocked?  No, but I'm very disappointed that a Republican like Rick Enstrom would spread such a story without even a phone call to me.  I believe he knows my number, since his campaign had no problem finding me when I helped him as a volunteer to walk his precincts in 2012.     These types of attacks only embolden me to fight even harder for you.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your calls and emails of support tonight.Iron sharpens iron. Together I look forward to taking back Senate District 16 this November and winning a Republican majority.   Game on!" (emphasis added)

While Tim Neville may wish that his mere claim that a story is false is sufficient to demonstrate that a story is in fact false, that is not the case.  Here, there is evidence to indicate that Neville – and through him potentially RMGO – recruited White Supremacist Nathaniel Marshall to run for HD-23.  The first two pieces of evidence are the Enstrom and Brown Statements.  In addition to those statements, last night Nathaniel Marshall revealed that he had been invited to an RMGO fundraiser as a candidate and that now they were throwing him "under the bus".  Moreover, recruiting Nathaniel Marshall would fit within a perceived pattern of RMGO supporting candidates who repeat its party line but who are poorly vetted – the chief example being former pornographic novel writer Jaxine Bubis.

(more…)

RMGO-Backed Candidates Win GOP County Assemblies

Lang Sias, Tea Party endorsed no longer.

Lang Sias, “Tea Party endorsed” no longer.

​As the Colorado Independent's Sandra Fish reports:

Jefferson County Republicans set the stage Saturday for two potentially divisive state Senate primaries.

Disagreements over which candidates are the strongest supporters of gun rights, “liberty” and the pro-life movement simmered just beneath the surface during an afternoon of speeches and voting.

Democrats have an 18-17 majority in the state Senate, and Republicans hope to take it back. The JeffCo seats, currently held by Democrats, could be key to that effort…

Saturday, Lang Sias and Laura Woods faced off in Senate District 19 for an opportunity to face appointed Democratic Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, while Mario Nicolais and Tony Sanchez competed in Senate District 22 where one of them will face incumbent Sen. Andy Kerr.

Sias, a former fighter pilot, took direct aim at Woods and her supporters, who include Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a conservative gun rights group. Sais lost to Sen. Evie Hudak by fewer than 600 votes in 2012…

“My opposition thinks I should be disqualified because I didn’t participate in the Hudak recall,” Sias said. “I did not feel it was right for the to stand up and ask for a do-over.” [Pols emphasis]

Laura Woods.

Laura Woods.

Tony Sanchez in SD-22 and Laura Waters Woods in SD-19 are the prohibitive favorites of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the hard-line gun rights group foremost responsible for the drive to recall two sitting Colorado Senators last year while forcing the resignation of a third.

But even as RMGO flexes its muscles in the Republican primary, evidenced by both Woods and Sanchez winning top lines on their respective primary ballots this weekend, there is desperate establishment pushback underway against this post-recall attempt to install more RMGO friendly legislators in the Colorado General Assembly. RMGO overall does a fantastic job getting their candidates through the GOP primary process, recent examples of their work including Sen. Vicki Marble.

Unfortunately, once these RMGO-endorsed primary candidates become legislators, they have a tendency to severely harm the Republican brand as a whole (see: Vicki Marble). Sometimes they don't even make it that far, like brief SD-11 "RMGO endorsed" recall successor candidate Jaxine Bubis. The fact is, you've got a lot of Republicans out there who would like nothing more than to wash their hands of Dudley Brown and his ilk forever.

At the same time, how can any self-respecting Republican cheer when Lang Sias runs away from those same recalls in his county assembly speech? For us, this epitomizes the cognitive dissonance at work among Colorado Republicans today. On the one hand, the recalls are the Colorado GOP's rallying point for this year's "comeback." On the other, they reveal perhaps the greatest weakness in today's Colorado Republican Party–embarrassed by its own "success," out of touch, at war with itself.

As we've said, we don't know what the GOP's solution is, but the problem becomes more obvious every year.

Who Is Rep. Libby Szabo Protecting?

libbyszabo

The Denver Post's Anthony Cotton reports on today's passage of a Democratic bill to toughen sentences for child sex offenders:

The reading of a bill designed to create mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of crimes against children advanced Monday in the House, but not before some heated debate between Democrats and Republicans over how closely it hewed to ground-breaking legislation in Florida…

Both bills were heard in the House's State Affairs committee two weeks ago, with the Democratic-controlled group killing Szabo's bill while moving Foote's.

Szabo sought to mirror the Florida law, which includes a 25-year minimum sentence for offenders over the age of 18 as well as a provision that if the person were released early on parole, he or she would have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Foote's bill would stagger sentences that range from 10 to 48 years based on the seriousness of the crime and if it's ruled a class 1, 2 or 3 felony.

The Democrats accused the Republicans of trying to "cut and paste" the Florida law onto the Colorado statutes, adding that Foote's proposed legislation has the support of Lunsford's family. [Pols emphasis]

The passage of a so-called "Jessica's Law," mandating long sentences for sex crimes against children this year, came after a disgusting episode in the last legislative session, where Rep. Libby Szabo, the bill's primary sponsor, accused Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino of "obviously protecting someone" after the 2013 bill died in a House committee. In reality, stakeholders including the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, and victim's advocates like the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault opposed Szabo's bill because Colorado already has very tough sentencing for perpetrators of sex crimes against children. The approach favored by Democrats this year, and still supported by advocates for "Jessica's Law," acknowledges the tough status quo and further strengthens sentencing–within a framework that attempts to make the punishment fit the crime.

But that wasn't enough for Szabo today, who warned darkly:

(more…)

RMGO Goes To War Against The GOP

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

SUNDAY POLS UPDATE: The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels:

The three RMGO-backed Senate candidates in Jefferson County are Tony Sanchez, Laura Woods and Tim Neville. Sanchez faces Nicolais in the GOP primary for the Senate seat now held by Democrat Andy Kerr, while Woods faces Sias in the GOP primary for the Senate seat now held by Democrat Rachel Zenzinger. Neville so far has no primary opponent, and is expected to face Democrat Jeanne Nicholson in November.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners claims in its Facebook post that the party is allowing “campaign operatives” for “anti-gun” candidates Sias and Nicolais to work in the Jeffco office and have “exclusive access to key data” that could give them an advantage in the June 24 primary. Brown also claimed in a fundraising letter that the party is “giving preferential treatment to the candidates who refused to fill out our survey.”

Nicolais, who is a member of the NRA, pointed out that he didn’t bother to fill out the survey for the same reason he didn’t fill out the AFL-CIO survey: He wasn’t going to get the endorsement. He said he received the survey after the gun group already endorsed Sanchez.

—–

Not that it's really anything new, but Dudley Brown of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is again causing trouble. 

In an email sent to RMGO members and supports this morning, Brown stated that:

RMGO-PAC has received word from multiple sources that the Jefferson County Republican Party is now turning away volunteers that openly support conservatives in the area

If that sounds strange to you, it should. But he goes on to explain that he doesn't mean ALL conservatives…

The party is asking volunteers, at the door, who they are supporting in contested State Senate primaries, and if they answer "Laura Woods", "Tony Sanchez" and "Tim Neville" (RMGO-PAC endorsed candidates), the volunteers are asked to leave.

That's a pretty bold accusation. And if true, could lead to some interesting GOP intra-party drama come County Assembly, which is on March 22. 

(more…)

The Nuge Still Shilling For The Tanc

nugear15

Media Matters via Mike Littwin at the Colorado Independent:

National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent is fundraising for Republican Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo weeks after Texas gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott caused a firestorm of controversy for campaigning with Nugent after the NRA figurehead made a racist comment about President Obama.

According to a March 4 article in The Colorado Independent, Nugent sent a fundraising e-mail on behalf of Tancredo that asked for donations of $25 or more to be entered into a raffle for an AR-15 assault weapon. In a letter addressed to "Real Americans," Nugent warned that "Barack Obama and his radical America-hating leftist goons are perilously close to taking away our guns and nullifying the Second Amendment." According to Nugent, "Tom Tancredo is running for Governor in one of the most anti-gun states in the union, so he urgently needs our help. That's why we're giving away a free AR-15 to a fellow gung-ho supporter." Nugent praised Tancredo for "opposing President Bush's wasteful spending spree, amnesty for illegal immigrants, and of course, insane infringements to our sacred Second Amendment rights."

An image of Nugent's latest fundraising letter follows. We are a little surprised to see Tom Tancredo still using aging rocker Ted Nugent as a fundraising pitchman, after Nugent very grudgingly apologized for referring to President Barack Obama as a "subhuman mongrel"–an apparent reference to the fact that Obama had a black father and a white mother. If that kind of talk seems more at home in the pre-civil rights era South than a mainstream political campaign in 2014, you're probably not alone.

Nugent's presence on the campaign trial recently caused headaches for a different Republican gubernatorial candidate. In Texas, Greg Abbott received widespread criticism for hosting campaign events with Nugent, who is also a spokesman for the Outdoor Channel, after Nugent recently termed Obama a "subhuman mongrel." Abbott was also widely criticized for campaigning with someone who had made numerous profane and derogatory comments about women, including calling Hillary Clinton a "toxic cunt" and "worthless bitch." Even prominent members of the GOP condemned Nugent, with Arizona Sen. John McCain adding, "That kind of thing is beyond the pale, and I hope that our candidate down there learned a lesson." Nugent eventually offered a disingenuous apology — "not necessarily to the president" — for his "subhuman mongrel" comment and Abbott stated publicly he had no plans to hold future events with Nugent.

Tancredo primary voters are less likely to be troubled. And apparently, so is Tancredo.

(more…)

Finally, The End Of The Endless “Jessica’s Law” Drama

UPDATE: Release from House Democrats, Rep. Mike Foote's "Jessica's Law" passes unanimously:

“As a deputy district attorney, I have prosecuted some of these crimes, and I have seen how devastating they can be for victims and their families,” Rep. Foote said. “I want to help them heal by knowing that Colorado has no tolerance for those who prey on our children. And I want DAs and law enforcement to have every available tool to maximize the safety of our kids and to put the worst of the worst behind bars for a very long time.”

…Members of the criminal justice and law enforcement communities, as well as victims’ rights advocates, testified in support of the bill.

“House Bill 1260 brings Jessica’s Law to Colorado in a way that makes sense for Colorado,” Rep. Foote told the committee. “We’re not going to cut and paste any provision of any other state’s criminal law without making allowances for our structure and the way things work in Colorado.” [Pols emphasis]

—–

Rep. Mike Foote (D).

Rep. Mike Foote (D).

​CBS4's Shaun Boyd reported Friday about legislation, two pieces of legislation actually, up for debate in the Colorado House today. Both call themselves "Jessica's Law," named after a Florida child who was murdered by a convicted sex offender out of prison on parole:

The intent of both bills is the same — to make sure anyone who sexually assaults a child spends a long time behind bars.

Both bills are named after Jessica Lunsford, a young girl from Florida who was raped and murdered by a sex offender on parole…

“For these types of offenders a longer sentence is something that’s necessary,” said Rep. Mike Foote, D-Boulder.

Foote is among those who voted against the Szabo bill, calling it “one size fits all.” But he also promised Mark Lunsford he would try to do something. He’s now introduced his own “Jessica’s Law.” His bill would put child molesters away for 10 to 24 years depending on the seriousness of the crime.

“My bill treats different types of actions differently, but also makes sure to target those who are committing the worst of the worst offenses,” Foote said.

Boyd's report, while a fair look at this year's bills, leaves out a number of important details from the debate last year over the GOP version of "Jessica's Law"–details that few under the Dome can forget. The fact is, law enforcement representatives including Colorado District Attorneys' Council, and victim's advocates like the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault opposed last year's version the bill. The reason is simple: Colorado already has very tough sentencing laws for sex offenders. What GOP Rep. Libby Szabo proposed last year was more about stripping away judicial sentencing discretion in an undifferentiated way. Rep. Mike Foote's bill, though we haven't heard if it's considered any more necessary by the DAs and victims than Szabo's, at least tries to look objectively at the types of crimes committed.

This is also the debate in which Rep. Szabo appeared on the FOX News O'Reilly Factor, and made the scurrilous allegation that Speaker Mark Ferrandino was "obviously protecting someone" after the bill died in a House committee. Especially given the opinion among law enforcement and victims advocates that the law isn't necessary in Colorado, we hope that Rep. Foote's generous attempt to accommodate proponents means this is the last we'll ever have to hear about "Jessica's Law."

Rep Wright Leaves Gun Unattended at Capitol

(The stupid! It burns! – promoted by Colorado Pols)

THURSDAY POLS UPDATE: Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense​ released the following statement today:

"As a concealed-carry permit holder, Rep. Wright should understand the risks of leaving a loaded gun unattended. On any given day there are classes of school-aged children touring the Capitol. And we all know the horror stories of what happens when children find loaded guns. It is inexcusable,” said State Leader, Jennifer Hope.
 
She continued, "Rep. Wright claims he carries his weapon because it is his ‘duty to be a first responder.' To that we ask, how can someone respond to an emergency situation when they can't even locate their weapon? The sad irony here is that Rep. Wright sponsored legislation to expand concealed carry rights to gun owners without permits.  We shudder to think of this reality as we see the example of ‘responsible gun ownership’ that Rep Wright has displayed."

—–

Rep. Jared Wright (R-Fruita).

Rep. Jared Wright (R-Fruita).

Let's hear a big hurrah for the Jared Wright as he absolutely obliterates any chance that Republican's will be able to use gun laws to hurt Dems in the 2014 elections in Colorado. 

In a move so ironic it hurts, State Representative Jared Wright left a loaded gun behind after a committee hearing on… wait for it… concealed carry permits. 

As if Jared Wright didn't have enough problems within and beyond his own party, he is now single-handedly responsible for enshrining the Democratic Party's majority for 2015, and will now be the poster boy for the (not so) responsible gun owners. 

The Republic/AP reports:

DENVER — A state lawmaker says he'll no longer carry a firearm in the Capitol after he inadvertently left a loaded handgun in a committee room…

State law prohibits guns in the Capitol "without legal authority." Wright, who was on the Fruita police force in 2007-2011, says that as a peace officer he has a right to be armed in the Capitol.

Wright says after speaking with the State Patrol and Gov. John Hickenlooper's office, he won't carry a gun in the Capitol anymore.

This follows a Durango Herald piece from last year when Rep. Chris Holbert told a witness testifying about gun bills: "Do you understand that there are several guns in this room?"

(more…)

So What You’re Saying Is, Magpul Played Us Like a Fiddle

Colorado-based gun accessory maker Magpul.

Colorado-based gun accessory maker Magpul.

A typically slanted write-up from the conservative "news" site Colorado Observer responds to criticism of Erie-based gun accessory maker Magpul, who is moving their manufacturing operations to Wyoming and Texas with millions of dollars in taxpayer economic development subsidies:

Magpul has come under fire from the left since announcing Jan. 2 that the company intends to move its manufacturing facility to Cheyenne and its corporate office to Texas, making good on last year’s promise to leave Colorado as a result of Democratic gun-control bills signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper.

A Feb. 10 article on the liberal website ColoradoPols carried the headline: “Reminder: Magpul Played Everybody Like a Fiddle,” while the progressive Colorado Independent ran a Feb. 6 article with the headline, “Magpul is relocating because it landed long-sought financial deal.”

“Far from a hardship, [this] could be the most profitable ‘crisis’ in Magpul’s history!” said Colorado Pols in a Jan. 3 post.

Republicans described the reports as an effort by the left to discredit Magpul and rewrite the narrative of last year’s gun-control melee, which resulted in the historic recalls of two Democratic state senators and the resignation of a third.

“They [Democrats] passed a bill that drove hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars of revenue out of the state of Colorado,” said state Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray). “How do you defend that, other than to demonize the people who left by saying, ‘Good riddance, they should be gone?’” [Pols emphasis]

Unsurprisingly, Valerie Richardson of the Observer omits the key fact central to our previous stories on this: as reported by local news media last year, Magpul specifically sought and was offered economic subsidies by Texas and Wyoming a year before the gun safety bills later used as a pretext to justify Magpul's move were ever introduced. Setting aside that rather glaring discrepancy, here's what Magpul's spokesman says about those subsidies:

Anderson countered in an email exchange with the Observer “the Wyoming incentives are not ‘subsidies.’”

“[T]hey are loans from Wyoming to the local economic development office Cheyenne LEADS,” said Anderson. “Cheyenne LEADS will use those state funds to build a 100,000+ sq. ft. facility.”

He added that, “LEADS is leasing the facility to Magpul and will repay those state funds.  Magpul has an option after year five of the lease to purchase (the) facility for the full construction cost.”

According to all reports we've read out of Cheyenne, this just isn't accurate–a significant component of the package offered to Magpul consists of grants, not loans. And if you read the weasely language carefully above, he doesn't actually say Magpul is obliged to repay the "full construction cost"–that's just an "option!" According to the Wyoming Eagle Tribune, Magpul is only contractually on the hook for $6 million as part of a "revenue recapture plan."

Bottom line: The superficial story of Magpul's impending departure from Colorado is one that can be gainfully spun by Republicans, as it services lots of other Republican lines of attack. But the truth of this story is very different. When people learn that Magpul was shopping for economic subsidies from the same states, Wyoming and Texas, that it has now announced their move to, a full year before the gun safety bills Magpul claims were the justification for doing so were introduced–even before the mass shooting incidents in Aurora and Connecticut that motivated these bills to begin with–their reaction inevitably changes.

Of course it changes. Because they realize we were all being played like a fiddle.

Buck Looks To Bury “Buyer’s Remorse” Catastrophe

UPDATE: The conservative Daily Caller helps roll out the new female-friendly Ken Buck:

Buck promises this video is merely be the first in a series of maybe ten, or so, he will release. And although they’re too long to air on TV in their current format, “at some point in time,” he avers, “parts of these interviews will be pulled out and ads will be created to set the record straight.”

For a candidate hoping to neutralize a predictable attack, having these testimonials filmed and in the can should go a long way. “I anticipate that once again the Democrats will create the ‘war on women’ narrative,” he said, “and these women talk about who I [really] am.”

—–

2010 GOP Senate nominee Ken Buck.

2010 GOP Senate nominee Ken Buck.

T.M. Fasano writes for the Greeley Tribune today in a story shameless puff piece notably outside their usual paywall:

[Ken] Buck, the Weld district attorney and GOP frontrunner to run against Colorado Sen. Mark Udall in the U.S. Senate race, unveiled a two-minute video titled “Ken Cares: Stephanie’s Story.” Several other videos will be released over the next several weeks and months also showing Buck’s support from women…

When Buck ran for the U.S. Senate seat against Michael Bennet, and barely lost, in 2010, he was portrayed as anti-woman, something that annoys Buck to this day. [Pols emphasis]

“It’s terrible. It’s an absolute lie. I have a daughter. I have a wife,” Buck said. “I understand that politics is unfair, but at some point there has to be some basis in truth and the fact is that I have spent 25 years of my life trying to help the most vulnerable in our community. For someone to suggest that because I’m pro-life that I don’t care about the vulnerable is not logical.”

He added, “What the Democrats have done to me and to Romney and to dozens of others is to say that because we are pro-life we don’t care about women. Nothing can be further from the truth. We have a position on one issue. Look at the whole group of issues before making a decision. What the liberals have done is they have taken one issue and have tried to create a character trait based on that issue and it just isn’t true.”

Of course, there's an obvious bottom line underlying any effort to rehabilitate the image of Weld County DA Ken Buck with women voters:

Buck’s numbers in the latest Quinnipiac University poll has him trailing Udall by only 3 percentage points (45 to 42), but among women voters he’s trailing Udall by 21 percentage points (54 to 33). [Pols emphasis]

“I’ve never met someone who is as dedicated as Ken, so it’s very surprising to me to see the polls showing such little support for him over women’s issues,” [domestic violence survivor Stephanie] Drobny said.

During Ken Buck's failed 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate, a race he unexpectedly lost principally due to a crushing lack of support from women voters, there were many incidents that hurt him–like during the primary campaign against Jane Norton, when he suggested Republicans vote for him because he does "not wear high heels." Buck also aggressively campaigned on a "no exceptions" platform of opposition to abortion, proudly volunteering that he opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

But the worst came for Buck when a story broke in early October of 2010 about a case of alleged sexual assault he had refused to prosecute, claiming the alleged victim had a case of "buyer's remorse"–this despite the fact that the alleged perpetrator was caught on tape admitting to the crime. The victim in turn had a recording of Buck's callous treatment of her during the investigation, which she released. Combined with a disastrous appearance on Meet the Press and already well-established anti-woman narratives about Buck from the primary campaign (see above), this event helped turn Buck's momentum toward likely victory at the end of September into a narrow loss to Sen. Michael Bennet by Election Day.

Recognizing what happened, Buck is smart to work overtime to repair the damage with women voters in 2010–the persistence of which appears to be his biggest impediment as the GOP's frontrunner for the nomination to challenge incumbent Sen. Mark Udall in 2014. The fact that women voters remember Buck well enough to favor Udall by twenty-one points means that Democrats did a very good job in 2010.

Still, Buck gets credit for recognizing this as his biggest challenge. Much like the hard-right Rep. Mike Coffman pulling a 180 on immigration, though, can Ken "Buyer's Remorse" Buck really make nice with the ladies? It's a tall order to say the least.

Don’t Miss Greg Brophy’s “Gun Club Giveaway!”

gunclub_giveaway

We might have predicted it, but here are the details from Sen. Greg Brophy's gubernatorial campaign site:

To help spur safe gun ownership, my campaign has decided to giveaway a Smith & Wesson M&P15.
I took the time to make a few modifications myself, including: 

MVG vertical grip
MOE+ grip – AR15/M16
MBUS folding rear backup sight
MOE handguard  carbine length – AR15/M16
MS3 multi mission sling Gen 1
ASAP ambidextrous sling attachment point
STR carbine stock mil spec 
2X MOE polymer rail section 11 slots

I tricked this baby out with all the MagPul stuff you can add!

No donation necessary (though we doubt Sen. Brophy would mind), just click here to fill out a simple entry form. Best of all, this AR-15 rifle is "tricked out"–with the latest Magpul accessories, and apparently, Sen. Brophy's fingerprints! That could come in particularly handy depending on who wins this rifle, since Brophy has sworn to not obey the gun safety laws passed last year. We assume that means it will actually come equipped with the Magpul high capacity magazine pictured, and that no background check will be required for this private transfer to who might be a total stranger. Just the way the Founding Fathers intended!

And before those of you who find this an affront get on your high horses, be assured that the ever-snarky Sen. Brophy has already thought of what to say to you. We'll update when we hear what it is.