Bizarre Crosstabs Undermine Latest SurveyUSA Poll

Reading tea leaves.

Reading tea leaves.

The Denver Post released new SurveyUSA polling on the Colorado gubernatorial and Senate races yesterday that are raising eyebrows–not so much for the bottom line results, which show both races very close, but the numbers under the proverbial hood. As the Post's John Frank reports on the Senate results:

Gardner and Udall remain in a tight race, 45 percent to 43 percent, according to a SurveyUSA poll of likely voters released Monday.

Gardner's lead is within the margin of error, making the race a statistical tie, but it represents a reversal from a month ago when Udall held a 4-point edge.

The Post poll — conducted Thursday through Sunday — had a margin-of-error of plus-or-minus 4.1 percentage points.

"There has been movement to Gardner that is unmistakable and what had been nominal advantage for Udall has been erased," said Jay Leve at SurveyUSA.

Gardner's momentum is evident in the underlying numbers…

But when local polling expert Kevin Ingham of Strategies 360 started looking at those underlying numbers, he found some things that honestly don't make sense:

We make no claims to be polling experts, but the idea that Cory Gardner is leading with Hispanic voters and Mark Udall is ahead with white voters most certainly defies conventional wisdom–and quite honestly makes us wonder if those numbers got flipped somewhere. Obviously, that would have big implications for this poll result if such an error got factored into the overall results.

Ordinarily we try not to get overly picky about methodology with polling, and to rely more on multiple poll averages than the results of any one poll. But in this case, there's pretty obviously some things messed up–either in the sample or the computation of the demographic results.

So…maybe take this poll with an extra grain of salt.

Big Line Updated

We've updated The Big Line 2014, so head on over and take a look.

From where we're sitting, things don't look a whole lot different than they did when we last updated the Big Line. The Senate race is still close, though we maintain that Sen. Mark Udall will ultimately prevail over Congressman Cory Gardner as Democrats outperform Republicans in the ground game and the antics of the right-wing Jefferson County School Board convince more voters to oppose Republicans in general.

As for the other two marquee races in Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper seems to be steadily pulling further ahead from Republican Bob Beauprez, and the battle in CD-6 between Congressman Mike Coffman and Democrat Andrew Romanoff is a true toss-up at this stage.

What say you, Polsters? Let us know in the comments below.

Rural Endorsement: Mark Udall For US Senate

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Ten years ago we went to the ballot box and passed the first-ever citizens-initiated renewable portfolio standard in the nation, Amendment 37.  Under the leadership of its bi-partisan co-chairs Mark Udall and Lola Spradley, the initiative put a solid foundation under what would emerge as Colorado's 'New Energy Economy'.  Today, Colorado enjoys the second-highest RPS in the nation, a 30% goal by 2020 (which will be met early).  Today, an estimated 4,000 Coloradans are employed our wind sector – almost 200 times more than the promised 22 permanent jobs that would be created by the Keystone pipeline – with nearly six billion dollars invested in wind projects across rural Colorado.

The net effects of those investments touch the lives of both rural and urban Coloradans each and every day: rural areas enjoy the bounty of the increased tax base, offering the opportunity to both lower local property taxes overall, and to provide new revenue streams for local economic development.  Urban consumers benefit from ever-decreasing costs of wholesale power to their investor-owned utility.  Rural counties are re-energized with the wind farm developments.

As an early supporter of the national agricultural alliance, "25x'25", Udall was instrumental in adding a 25% national renewable goal in to The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  In the headwinds of conservative opposition to clean energy (including Congressman Gardner on ideological principles), Udall now champions a national renewable standard, "25x'25", which would create an estimated 300,000 new jobs, mostly in rural America,  provide $13.5 billion to farmers, ranchers and other landowners in the form of lease payments and add $11.5 billion in new local tax revenues.

It's important to understand the merits of good public policy, and Mark Udall is at the tip of that spear.  Wind energy is the cheapest form of renewable energy today; in the case of the expanding Cedar Point wind farm near Limon, the Vestas turbines stand tall; "Made in Colorado" turbines, planted on the Colorado Prairie, creating rural jobs while simultaneously generating Xcel Energy's cheapest power.  Being an early adopter of clean energy coupled with our successes in the Ritter Administration's  "New Energy Economy",  Colorado is well-poised to meet the proposed EPA emission standards with ease.

It's a Win(d)-Win(d)-Win(d) situation.

So when our state newspaper of record asks, "What has Mark Udall done for us lately?", it's as simple as looking at your utility bill – or the revenue statements from your county treasurer.   It would be hard to find a single, political initiative that has touched the daily lives of more Coloradans in a more positive way.

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Jefferson County: The Key to the State, Now More Than Ever

Jefferson County key to Colorado elections

This kid can’t vote. But his parents, relatives, and neighbors have a new reason to get involved.

We've seen plenty of stories both locally and nationally about the continuing controversy with the Jefferson County School Board — a controversy that will almost certainly impact the outcome of several key races in November, as we pointed out early and often.

Today the Denver Post takes a deeper look — on the front page of the paper, no less — into the political consequences of a right-wing school board angering a community that is always paying attention to education issues. As John Frank writes for the Post, the crossover into the 2014 election is impossible to ignore:

It's dark and a moth circles the halo of a porch light as state lawmaker Brittany Pettersen knocks on the door of a potential swing voter in this all-important Denver suburb. Hours of canvassing ended at the home of Brian Leffler, a 36-year-old independent voter. Pettersen, a first-term Democratic House member, asks him what issue is foremost in his mind this election year. A chorus of insects fills the silence as Leffler thinks. It doesn't take him more than a moment to name a top issue. "The whole schools thing going on in Jefferson County — that's the main thing right now," Leffler said. "I know that has very little to do with you, but they are talking about taking things out of the curriculum."

Door after door, the same refrain. The turmoil at the Jefferson County school board regarding the conservative majority's plans to revamp teacher pay and curriculum is emerging as a key issue in the November elections.

"The fact it comes up naturally in conversations is really reflective of what's happening," Pettersen said. [Pols emphasis]

In an election season with no single national issue dominating the conversation, Jefferson County's vote is a volatile political cocktail that proves all politics is local.

Education. The Democratic Party enthusiasm gap. Abortion. Marijuana. The Republican Party rift. Guns. The economy.

And the stakes couldn't get much higher: The county is likely to decide which party controls the state Senate, the governor's mansion and the U.S. Senate, a combination with far-reaching implications in Colorado and Washington.

Both Democrats and Republicans have figured out that the 2014 elections may hinge on the actions of Jeffco's screwy school board, though Democrats were much quicker to respond. Republicans have tried to push back with a ridiculous message accusing the teacher's union of, well, everything, but that attempted pivot isn't going to work in a county where students, parents, and teachers have taken to the streets in protest for more than a month now. As Frank astutely points out in his story above, this is an issue that is moving along under its own power — which is going to make it awfully difficult for Republicans to redirect as ballots start landing in mailboxes this week.

 

Denver Post Splits Ticket With Gardner Endorsement

UPDATE #2: Ouch–Salon's Luke Brinker proclaims this the "most asinine endorsement of [the] 2014 cycle."

“Congress is hardly functioning these days,” the Post laments, right before it proceeds to endorse the government shutdown-supporting Tea Partier. The paper’s editorial board has decided that Gardner is somehow the answer to this dysfunction, because incumbent Sen. Mark Udall is an incumbent and “is not perceived as a leader,” they guess. So maybe “the time has come for change.”

And what of Gardner’s hard-right positions? There is that inconvenient bit about his support for “personhood” legislation, but, the paper writes, now he wants to make birth control available over the counter. (Never mind those poor women who can’t afford it and require insurance coverage for their contraceptives.)

Moreover, the paper writes, Gardner actually “has sound ideas on tax reform that could help the economy take off.” How? Just trust them, it will. Plus, he’s “expressed willingness to compromise on immigration despite a fairly hard line over the years.” How Gardner could actually convince fellow Republicans to cease their obstructionism on the issue – and whether his newfound “willingness to compromise” is genuine or election-year pandering – doesn’t much concern the Post…

The notion that this right-wing congressman could help usher in a new era of bipartisan goodwill and policy innovation seems far-fetched, but the Post begs to differ. Citing Gerald Seib’s absurd Wall Street Journal column this week, the editors speculate that a unified GOP Congress, together with President Obama, could actually be more productive than one-party government would be. Try not to think too much about the past four years, lest you disabuse yourself of this comforting thought.

—–

UPDATE: Worth adding to this discussion are the words of Denver Post political news editor Chuck Plunkett, responding in Tuesday's debate to Cory Gardner's stunning refusal to answer key questions about his health insurance:

Sometimes if a candidate doesn't answer a question, that also tells you something about the candidate that voters can know. [Pols emphasis]

The editorial board must have missed that part.

—–

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Colorado political social media is alight this afternoon after the Denver Post editorial board published their endorsement of Republican Cory Gardner in the Colorado U.S. Senate race. In some respects, the Post's endorsement of Gardner isn't surprising–after endorsing Gov. John Hickenlooper in the gubernatorial race, the possibility that the paper would "split the ticket" and endorse the Republican in the Senate race grew on general principles. It's important to remember that the Denver Post is presently for sale, and it's easy to imagine them avoiding upsetting potential buyers by not endorsing the same party in the state's two top races.

With that said, some parts of today's endorsement are justifiably infuriating Democrats today, who rightly wonder if the Post's editorial board has been reading the news they're opining on:

Rather than run on his record, Udall's campaign has devoted a shocking amount of energy and money trying to convince voters that Gardner seeks to outlaw birth control despite the congressman's call for over-the-counter sales of contraceptives. Udall is trying to frighten voters rather than inspire them with a hopeful vision. His obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince…

[Gardner's] past views on same-sex marriage are becoming irrelevant now that the Supreme Court has let appeals court rulings stand and marriage equality appears unstoppable. And contrary to Udall's tedious refrain, Gardner's election would pose no threat to abortion rights. [Pols emphasis]

The idea that Udall invented the abortion issue against Gardner is of course ridiculous, since it was Gardner's choice to bring this issue to the fore with his clumsy attempt to reverse himself on the state Personhood abortion ban initiatives right after getting into the race. Gardner's messy backpedal on the issue, combined with his continued sponsorship of equivalent federal legislation, is what opened him to attack–and the lead that Udall has maintained with women voters shows that it's working.

As for the blanket assertion that Gardner "would pose no threat to abortion rights," this is so plainly contradicted by Gardner's record, and every fact-checker who has examined the issue, that it's simply laughable. We don't even think Gardner himself would agree, let alone his pro-life supporters. What could this statement possibly be based on? Because it's not based on reality.

On most other issues, the Post tends to ignore them–or ignorantly carry water for Gardner. There's nothing whatsoever about Gardner's 50+ votes to repeal Obamacare, or his inability to back up assertions about his own health insurance. The editorial board takes Gardner at his word that he would "compromise" on immigration reform "despite a fairly hard line over the years." And inexplicably, they call Gardner an "early supporter" of renewable energy, despite the fact that the legislation he touts from 2007 "to launch Colorado's renewable energy industry" was repealed having never funded a single project.

Bottom line: for anybody who knows the underlying facts, this endorsement really is a joke. It stands in marked contrast to the conclusions of other editorial boards around the state, some of whom have been very pointed in calling out Gardner's deceptions.

That the Denver Post bought those deceptions hook, line and sinker says more about them than it does about this race.

Friday Funny: Cory Gardner’s Sad, Sad, Sad Joke Fail

This has been the week of debates in Colorado politics, and we've made sure to keep you updated on everything that has been said (and shouldn't have been said). But we didn't want to end the week without a look back at one of the saddest joke attempts we've seen in a debate in a long time. Poor Cory Gardner doesn't even get crickets in response to his joke — just complete silence — in Tuesday's debate at the Denver Post. Kudos to Sen. Mark Udall for keeping a straight face.

We decided not to edit the clip down to the final 20 seconds at the end, because the wait just makes the payoff so much more fail-tastic. If you just can't wait, jump ahead to the :45 second mark. Enjoy:

 

Udall ignored (D) voters, will they ignore him in 2014?

Colorado Senator Mark Udall is up for re-election in 2014. As anyone who follows politics knows, that is right around the corner and the campaign has almost certainly begun. (We can thank Republicans like Karl Rove for the never-ending campaign.)

Riding Barack Obama's coattails 2008, Udall easily won his senate seat:

Obama took six of the 11 Western states, spreading the Democrats' apparent majority inland from the West Coast to include Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

Here are the Colorado numbers from 2008:

Obama won with 54% and 1,288,576 votes.


Udall won with 53% and 1,230,994 votes.

(You'll note who got more votes than Mark Udall. This might be a standard occurrence in state votes, but it should not be disregarded in my humble opinion. A vote for Udall was mere millimeters away from a vote for Obama.)

Despite voters' clear mandate in 2008, and the obvious disgust with which they regarded Republicans nationally, our very wise Senator and his partner, both Udall and Michael Bennet, chose to use a tired, old strategy from the 90s: triangulation.

Triangulation has some logic behind it. And when wielded by the greatest politician of his generation, Bill Clinton, it seemed to work like magic. Democrats have been enamored of it since.

But there's a big "but" here that current Democrats in elected office haven't fully taken into account:

The 2008 move to the right by both Udall and Bennet immediately, and purposefully, hampered the ability of our newly elected president to act on his mandate and might've encouraged the historically belligerent behavior of Republicans.

The election is days away. Who will be this year's winner: Republicans, DC Consultants, or Democratic voters?

Reporters again try but again fail to get truth from Gardner on federal “personhood” bill

(Video clips added, here is part 2 of Gardner's debate disaster – promoted by Colorado Pols)

In an article this morning, Fox 31 Denver's Eli Stokols reports that senatorial candidate Cory Gardner shifted last night from repeatedly saying to multiple reporters (as documented in the video above) that there is "no federal personhood bill" to saying, repeatedly, that it's "simply a statement."

Stokols writes:

“The federal act that you are referring to is simply a statement that I believe in life,” Gardner said when asked about the Life Begins at Conception Act by Lynn Bartels.

When Udall repeatedly went back to the issue, Gardner stuck to script, repeating his line that his co-sponsorship of the measure is “simply a statement that I support life.”

Gardner also attempted to separate the House Life at Conception Act, which he signed on as a co-sponsor to last summer, from the nearly identical Senate version, which he claimed not to have seen, and dismissed the notion, pushed by Udall’s campaign, that the legislation could result in banning some forms of birth control.

In countering this nonsense from Gardner, Stokols cites an appeal from Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, explaining that “by legally defining that life begins at conception, — would simply bring the legal definition of “life” in line with the biological definition… in effect overturning Roe v. Wade."

Here's the audio of Paul's brutally honest statement of support for the Life at Conception Act.

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Gardner’s Debate Disaster, Part 1: Cory’s Health Plan

The Denver Post has posted video clips of a number of key exchanges from last night's pivotal U.S. Senate race debate between Mark Udall and Cory Gardner. We certainly encourage readers to watch the debate in its entirety, but these clips zero in on the most impactful moments–almost all of them major breakdowns for Gardner's central campaign messages. We'll be talking about these clips a lot in the coming days:

Our first clip is of Gardner's refusal last night to divulge details of the health insurance plan he claims was cancelled due to the Affordable Care Act, and for which an "equivalent" replacement was supposedly much higher cost. As we've covered in detail in this space, Gardner's claims are impossible to substantiate based on the experience of others buying insurance from the Colorado health insurance marketplace. FOX 31's Eli Stokols tried valiantly to get the details on Gardner's insurance plan, and was stonewalled in response. Last night, the Denver Post's political news editor Chuck Plunkett pressed Gardner for these same details, and got similar evasive talking points in reply. We're actually quite surprised to see that in the week between Gardner's disastrous interview with Stokols and last night's debate, Gardner didn't come up with some kind of better answer to this very basic question–a question central to Gardner's campaign, as he regularly claims that his experience with Obamacare is what motivated him to run for the U.S. Senate.

Last night, after listening to Gardner recite his boilerplate against Obamacare, Plunkett tried to get back to the question he had originally posed:

CHUCK PLUNKETT: Mr. Gardner, could we take just a few more seconds, and, and we wanted to try to get a specific answer to the question…

(Audience laughter, applause)

PLUNKETT: Why did you redact the portion of the specific plan your family was using?

CORY GARDNER: Because we found a solution, an insurance policy that we liked. That our family liked. The same kind of solution that 340,000 other Coloradans found. 340,000 Coloradans found a health insurance policy that they liked. What Senator Udall promised, is that if you liked your health care plan, you could keep it. He did not say–and what Senator Udall wants to do is to say is this. He wants to say that well, your policy didn't do this, or your policy didn't do that…

PLUNKETT: Mr. Gardner, I'm sorry, we, if you would like to answer the specific question, we have a few more times, a little bit more time…

GARDNER: Well I'm happy to debate the failure of Obamacare, this entire hour if Senator Udall would agree. 

MARK UDALL: Congressman, I think you ought to… (gestures)

GARDNER: Okay, let's do it, if you want to debate…

PLUNKETT: No no, no no but we've got all these question we want to ask, so…

LYNN BARTELS: Cory, hold off.

UDALL: If I might, Chuck I'd like to get a word in here, the Congressman hasn't…

GARDNER: Am I allowed a rebuttal, if he's allowed a rebuttal to this question….

UDALL: The Congressman hasn't answered this question, as you know, and I think he should answer…

BARTELS: Rebut at him, we're trying to get you to answer a specific question. [Pols emphasis]

GARDNER: Well then I'm allowed to rebut.

PLUNKETT: Wait a second, let's get control of the situation here. Every now and then, I will want, or Lynn will want, we'll look at each other and confer to ask a follow-up question if we think a question was answered. That's our prerogative. Sometimes if a candidate doesn't answer a question, that also tells you something about the candidate that voters can know. [Pols emphasis] But right now we're going to move on to…

(Audience laughter)

GARDNER: Now Chuck, I would like to address what you just said.

PLUNKETT: That's not applicable to just you, Mr. Gardner, that would apply to any candidate that doesn't specifically answer a question.

By the end, it was painfully obvious why Gardner won't divulge the details of his pre-Obamacare insurance plan. It's because something in those details would severely undermine the claims he has made. At this point, Gardner has taken almost as much damage from refusing to release these details than he would if he simply admitted he's not being honest–but for obvious reasons, Cory Gardner can't do that. The only thing Gardner can do now is fall back on old talking points, like the highly misleading one about 340,000 Coloradans who "had their health plans cancelled"–debunked by the fact that the rate of uninsured in Colorado has plummeted since Obamacare took effect. The truth is, most of the claims being made about Obamacare today have been debunked by health insurance consumers' own experiences, and simple arithmetic showing the number of uninsured has shrunk not grown.

For anyone who knows even part of the story–a growing number of voters, but especially political insiders in Washington following these races down the stretch–Gardner's credibility is totally destroyed by this exchange. Its damage can only be limited by limiting the number of voters who see it. And if Democrats are on their game, they'll spread this clip far and wide over the next three weeks.

Udall v. Gardner: LIVE BLOG!

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

The Election season rolls on, and so do we. It's time for another LIVE BLOG!!!

We're back at the auditorium of the Denver Post building for a debate for U.S. Senate between Sen. Mark Udall and Congressman Cory Gardner. The crowd is filling in, the coins are being tossed, and it's about to get all Senate-y in here. For those who want to watch the action themselves, check out DenverPost.com for the live feed.

*NOTE: The most current update appears at the top of the page. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time.


FINAL THOUGHTS
This felt very much like the end of Cory Gardner's campaign for Senate. Gardner came off as childish and petulant, smiling happily at himself whenever he thought of a new one-liner (though unaware that he was the only one laughing). Gardner also appeared ill-prepared and unsure of himself; his consistent refusal to answer questions — even Yes/No questions — absolutely stood out for everyone in the room and will no doubt continue to dog him for the remainder of the campaign. Gardner's ill-timed jokes and indecipherable answers made him look almost disinterested — like a teenager who has grown bored of this "Senate campaign thing."

On the other side, Udall was strong throughout the debate, but he didn't have to work very hard to outshine Gardner when the latter would offer only cliches and platitudes in response to every question. This was a cakewalk for Udall.

Gardner can only hope that the media coverage of this debate comes and goes quickly. If national media pick up on this horrendous performance, pundits around the country will be declaring that Udall has the race well in hand. Gardner entered the room with a shiny gray suit that seemed a little too big on his frame; he left much the same way.

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Tea Party Express Officially Endorses Cory Gardner for Senate

UPDATE: For the record, this is the same Tea Party Express that enthusiastically backed last year's shutdown of the federal government to stop Obamacare–the same shutdown Cory Gardner insists today he "never supported." Here's what TPE said then:

“Congress can and must use the ‘power of the purse’ to ensure that no more taxpayer dollars can be used to implement this bureaucratic train wreck,” said Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer. “We support the efforts of principled public servants like Mike Lee and Ted Cruz who are giving the President and Senate Democrats a choice: Either continue funding the government without giving one more dime to Obamacare, or shut down the government to prop up an unpopular law that even their supporters admit will not work and cannot be enforced.” [Pols emphasis]

Hey, you know, forget all that.

—–

Gardner-Tea Party Express

All aboard?

Yesterday the Tea Party Express officially announced their endorsement of Republican Cory Gardner for U.S. Senate. From a press release:

Tea Party Express, the nation’s largest Tea Party political action committee, proudly endorses Congressman Cory Gardner for U.S. Senate in Colorado.

Tea Party Express Executive Director Taylor Budowich said, “In 2010, Cory Gardner was elected as part of the bold, Tea Party wave that swept the country. He delivered a promising vision of the future, rooted in conservative-minded reform and policy solutions. He is now taking that vision statewide, and challenging the failed, liberal policies of President Obama and Senator Mark Udall. We are confident in Cory’s resolve to bring common-sense, conservative solutions to the U.S. Senate; we encourage every Coloradan to vote for Cory Gardner on Election Day,” Budowich concluded.

This is not an endorsement that Republicans like Cory Gardner would like you to know about, which is probably why it only shows up on obscure news sites that accept press releases from paid submission companies such as Targeted News Service (no offense intended to those regular readers of InsuranceNewsNet.com). Gardner needs to be seen as a moderate candidate in order to have any hope of defeating incumbent Sen. Mark Udall, and public support from the Tea Party doesn't further that goal; the Tea Party is about as popular as a Raiders' fan at a Broncos' party, as Gallup continues to show.

On the plus side for Gardner, he does also have the official endorsement of Margo:

“As a conservative grass-roots activist, I support Cory because he has uncompromising integrity, he understands Colorado’s priorities and will stand strong to represent our state responsibly while protecting our freedoms in every decision he makes.”

Margo (Co-Developer – Coffee4Conservatives)

Gardner’s Weasely Flip-Flop on Human-Caused Climate Change

Was that what you wanted to hear? Good.

Was that what you wanted to hear? Good.

Politico's James Hohmann reports from yesterday's debate between Sen. Mark Udall and GOP challenger Cory Gardner, moderated by Manu Raju:

“Carbon pollution is real,” said Udall. “We’re prepared to put a price on carbon … I support putting a price on carbon.”

Gardner repeatedly pressed Udall to say what exact price he would put on carbon, but the senator declined. The Republican acknowledged that humans play a role in global warming and said he supports trying to reduce carbon emissions, but he said it cannot be done in a way that kills jobs.

“There is no doubt that pollution contributes to the climate changing around us,” said Gardner… [Pols emphasis]

As Huffington Post's Sabrina Siddiqui notes for the record and our readers know well, that's a big change from what Cory Gardner has said in the past about humanity's impact on global climate change:

Democrats were quick to point out that in January of this year, Gardner voted against an amendment that would have explicitly stated that climate change is real. The measure, which failed to clear the House Energy and Commerce Committee, stated that "Congress accepts the scientific finding of the Environmental Protection Agency (contained in the proposed rule referred to in section 4(2)) that '[g]reenhouse gas (GHG) pollution threatens the American public’s health and welfare by contributing to long-lasting changes in our climate that can have a range of negative effects on human health and the environment."

Gardner also rejected the theory of man-made climate change as a Colorado state representative in 2010. "I think the climate is changing, but I don't believe humans are causing that change to the extent that's been in the news," he said at the time. [Pols emphasis]

Much like when Gardner was caught red-handed lying to voters about his record on renewable energy, we assume there's some kind of semantic interpretation of his exact words that will allow Gardner's campaign to claim this is not the wholesale reversal on this issue it plainly appears to be. When cornered with the fact that the bill Gardner claimed he "cowrote the law to launch our state's green energy industry" had failed to result in a single renewable energy project, you'll recall his campaign responded that the ad says he wrote the bill "to launch," not "that launched" the industry. The tacit admission in their defense that the entire premise of the ad was false didn't even faze the Gardner campaign, and the ad continued to run for weeks afterward. To us, this seems like a very odd way to run for office, but Gardner has kept this race competitive close all summer. So clearly it's a tactic that has worked in the short term.

Unfortunately for Gardner, that only works so many times. With only very few exceptions, the press has stopped buying Gardner's reversals uncritically, and the fact that he's objectively not being honest is finally sticking in the public consciousness. And now, adding climate change to a growing list of issues, Gardner has gifted Democrats the means to defeat him–by living up to the charge that he will say anything to get elected.

Aurora Sentinel Rips Into Gardner in Endorsing Udall

Cory Gardner REJECTED!

Wherein Bill Russell = Newspaper Editorial Boards

As we say every Election Year, we don't attempt to list every newspaper endorsement of every major political race in Colorado. Rather, we keep an eye out for particularly notable endorsements and/or obvious trends. After an initial weekend of newspaper endorsements, one trend has glaringly stood out: By and large, editorial boards of Colorado newspapers apparently believe that Republican Congressman Cory Gardner is, well, a Con Man.

Earlier today we pointed out a key line from the Durango Herald's endorsement of Democratic Sen. Mark Udall:

Gardner’s dogged support for personhood says one of two things about him. Either his position on women’s rights is far out of the Colorado mainstream or the congressman will say anything for a vote.

If you thought that was rough, check out the Aurora Sentinel's no-nonsense editorial endorsement of Udall:

Colorado voters have tough choices to make on this year’s ballot, but the decision for U.S. Senate is clear and easy: Mark Udall.

Even if Republican challenger Cory Gardner were a credible candidate to represent one of the country’s most diverse and dynamic states in the U.S. Senate, Udall has proven himself in the House and Senate that he has all Colorado interests at heart.

Make no mistake, Congressman Gardner is not a credible candidate for the Senate seat. [Pols emphasis] His campaign has been decimated by deceits and distractions. It’s political bait-and-switch at its worse, and Colorado voters can easily see through it…

…We haven’t agreed with Udall on every vote and every position, but we know he can be trusted to make decisions based on thoughtful analysis of impacts on everyone in Colorado. Udall has the integrity to stand behind his votes and his politics, a quality Gardner clearly lacks. [Pols emphasis] We recommend trusting Udall with another term in the Senate.

Yikes!

As we wrote earlier, it's not uncommon for newspapers to write a nice paragraph or two about the non-endorsed candidate, but clearly there is a trend emerging here.

 

CBS/NYT: Udall 45%, Gardner 42%

We didn't want to miss mention of a new poll out this weekend from CBS and the New York Times, showing Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall with a three-point lead on Republican Cory Gardner–still well within the poll's +/- 3% margin of error. Here are your toplines:

CO_Senate_Oct

Interestingly, this month's CBS/NYT poll shows the same three-point lead for Udall as last month's, but the number of undecided voters has actually increased by a percentage point. In September, Udall's lead was 46-43%, where today his lead is 45-42%. Small respondent differences can of course easily account for this, but that continues to illustrate how close the race is–and will likely remain all the way down the stretch.

That said, holding this three-point lead is news Team Udall can feel good about, especially when you drill down into the details. Among respondents who are considered "moderates," Udall is winning 52-29. Because moderate voters are once again likely to decide the outcome of elections in Colorado, this is very good news for Udall — and an indicator that voters believe Gardner to be a strongly partisan candidate.

Supreme Court Won’t Take Up Gay Marriage Appeals; Colorado to Begin Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

POLS UPDATE #4: More reaction, Sen. Mark Udall:

"We are a stronger, better state when all couples are able to publically affirm their shared commitment and responsibilities to one another through marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court's move to let the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in favor of marriage equality stand is a win for all Coloradans," Udall said. "We should celebrate what this will mean for so many of our friends, family members and neighbors. And while this is an important milestone for our state and for other states around the country impacted today, we still have work to do to ensure equality for Americans nationwide."

Udall has been a vocal advocate of striking down misguided laws that discriminate against committed, married gay couples at both the state and federal levels. Udall last year helped to pass in the U.S. Senate the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would bar employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. However, the U.S. House of Representatives has refused to act on the legislation. He also led the successful effort to repeal the harmful and discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

The Colorado House and Senate majorities in a joint statement:

"The Supreme Court's decision to let the lower-court rulings stand vindicates a lot of work by a lot of people over a lot of years," said Speaker Mark Ferrandino, the House sponsor, with Rep. Sue Schafer (D-Wheat Ridge), of the 2013 Colorado law allowing civil unions for same-sex couples. 

"It's gratifying that this moment came before my time in the legislature ends," the term-limited Speaker Ferrandino said, "but what really matters is that our state and our country will finally offer equal treatment under the law to all loving couples." 

"We knew this day would come," said Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver), who with Senate President Pro Tem Lucia Guzman (D-Denver) were the Senate sponsors of the 2013 law. "The only task left for us is to fix the obsolete Colorado laws now on the books and make them constitutional according to the decisions handed down by the courts, particularly the 10th Circuit." 

"The majority of Americans, and a majority of Coloradans, support marriage equality," Sen. Guzman said. "This is about families, and Coloradans know that families are the backbone of a strong, healthy state. This decision provides further opportunity for all families to succeed under the law." 

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POLS UPDATE #3: The Denver Post reports that Pueblo County is now issuing same-sex marriage licenses, the first jurisdiction in Colorado to do so after the Supreme Court's action today.

bomarriage

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POLS UPDATE #2: Colorado Attorney General John Suthers concedes the obvious. From the Denver Post:

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers on Monday said all 64 county clerks must begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear all appeals on gay marriage bans.

Suthers' announcement is an abrupt and unexpected resolution to the legal battles in Colorado, including the attorney general's previous successful efforts to stop to county clerks from issuing same-sex marriage licenses this past summer…

…"By choosing not to take up the matter, the court has left the 10th Circuit ruling in place," Suthers said in a statement. "We expect the 10th Circuit will issue a final order governing Colorado very shortly. Once the formalities are resolved clerks across the state must begin issuing marriage licenses to all same-sex couples."

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POLS UPDATE: Our friends over at "The Fix" sum up today's decision quite nicely:

The Court's ruling (or lack thereof) is expected to extend gay marriage to 30 states — and it's easy to imagine a number of other states will follow suit in seeking legalization since there will be no pending legislation in front of the Court to keep them from doing so. Will there eventually be a challenge to the legality of same sex marriage in front of the Supreme Court? Yes.  Does the makeup of the Court make some difference in how that decision turns out? Also, yes. But, by not acting on the current challenges, the Court has allowed the massive momentum in favor of gay marriage to continue. And not just to continue, but to grow.

Original post follows…

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(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

What will Colorado's Attorney General do now?

The news out of Washington, DC this morning is that the Supreme Court has denied the appeals from opponents of marriage equality this morning: (AP News blurb). With the announcement, the stays of various Appeals Courts are vacated and gay marriage is now legal in all jurisdictions where appeals courts have found in favor of marriage equality!

AG Suthers said he wanted the courts to wait until a decision was handed down by the Supreme Court. This is the decision: the Appeals Courts are unanimous so far – gay marriage is a fundamental right! Will Suthers abide by the decision and ask for his stays to be lifted so that GLBT couples can join in the celebration of marriage? Or will he continue to delay and obstruct?