Should Andrew Romanoff Get a Do-Over?

Andrew Romanoff.

Andrew Romanoff.

Roll Call's Abby Livingston jump-started speculation about the 2016 CD-6 race yesterday:

There’s no rest for the weary at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has yet to name the new committee chairman for 2016, but the DCCC is already getting a jump on recruiting during the final days of New York Rep. Steve Israel’s tenure.

On Thursday morning, Israel held the first 2016 recruitment meeting since Election Day. He named two northeastern congressional districts as top targeting opportunities, and party strategists are readying for at least five rematches from 2014, according to a committee aide…

Two unsuccessful Democratic candidates from 2014 will be asked to make another run — former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who lost to Rep. Mike Coffman, [Pols emphasis] and Maine state Sen. Emily Cain, who lost an open-seat race to Rep.-elect Bruce Poliquin.

This was the first word we've heard that Andrew Romanoff, who lost heavily in last week's elections to Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman, might be recruited for a 2016 rematch. This report touched off another round of speculation about Romanoff's viability in local press–FOX 31's Eli Stokols:

Romanoff, who sat out 2012 and then announced his decision to challenge Coffman in 2014 almost as soon as the calendar turned to 2013 and spent the full two-year cycle raising an impressive $5 million, only garnered 43 percent of the vote in the re-drawn district.

But he lost by nine points amidst a GOP wave after failing to make inroads with blue collar voters in Adams County and to overcome Coffman’s withwering portrayal of the former statehouse Speaker as a self-interested carpetbagger who moved from Denver to the suddenly competitive district simply because he saw it as a way to get to Washington.

The Denver Post's Jon Murray:

While Andrew Romanoff isn’t saying much about his plans following his loss last week to Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, D.C. news outlet Roll Call reported Thursday that House Democrats will mount an effort to recruit him to run again in 2016.

That would be against the advice of some Colorado political observers and Democratic activists, who told The Denver Post in a story this week that Romanoff ought to consider stepping back from politics for a while. He’s lost two hard-fought races in a row…

Through his campaign spokeswoman, Romanoff declined to comment Thursday. But the DCCC reiterated to The Post that he was a strong candidate this year, despite his 52 percent-43 percent loss.

We've been pretty blunt in our assessment that Romanoff underperformed in this election–relative to other Democrats on the ballot with him, and certainly below the high expectations he had going into this race. We have given credit to Romanoff for dramatically exceeding expectations with regard to fundraising, but Romanoff's bland and centrist campaign message failed to motivate base Democrats to support him. After 2012 underdog Joe Miklosi came within two points of ousting Coffman, Romanoff's drubbing has turned Coffman into one of the state's stronger Republican candidates for higher office.

Apropos, Eli Stokols notes early speculation that Coffman may run against Sen. Michael Bennet in 2016, which would open the CD-6 seat and once again create a prime opportunity for Democrats to pick it up. In that event, would Romanoff be the best choice to try again, or would Democrats be smarter to turn to others in this district? Stokols mentions Senate President Morgan Carroll as a possible contender, as well as Karen Middleton–the former state legislator who at one point was set to challenge Romanoff for the Democratic CD-6 nomination but then withdrew from the race.

What say you, readers? We'd guess there are a number of people reading who would like your opinion.

Friday Open Thread

"Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother."

–Khalil Gibran

“No Labels” Completes Transition To GOP Front Group

Mark McKinnon, former Bush advisor and No Labels cofounder.

Mark McKinnon, former Bush advisor and No Labels cofounder.

National Journal reports on a notable development in the aftermath of Republican Cory Gardner's narrow defeat of incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall–a "nonpartisan" nonprofit group based in Washington D.C. named No Labels, formed by former George W. Bush advisor Mark McKinnon, stoked controversy earlier this year when Gardner touted their "endorsement"–which the group speedily walked back claiming they don't endorse candidates, or in fact endorsed anyone who agreed to support their "Problem Solver" agenda (it was a little unclear). It was later reported that this episode caused a major rift within the No Labels organization.

Well, as National Journal's Alex Brown reports, that rift has been "healed" by the resignation of No Labels' Democratic co-chair, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. After dozens of No Labels t-shirts were seen dotting the crowd at Gardner's victory party on Election Night, it would have been hard for Manchin not to resign:

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin stepped down Friday as one of the group's honorary cochairs, a move prompted by No Labels' backing of Republican Rep. Cory Gardner in his victory over Sen. Mark Udall. "He was upset by the decision to be active against a very moderate member of the Senate who had worked in a bipartisan way and had a track record of doing so," said a source familiar with Manchin's thinking…

"They have adopted a label, and the label starts with an 'R,' " said a Democratic strategist allied with Manchin. The strategist cited the group's backing of Gardner—and the staffers it sent to help his election—as a stick in the eye of Senate Democrats.

"They were picking a tea-party Republican over an avowed centrist," he said. "They backed the precisely wrong guy in the precisely wrong race, and they did it in a way that seemed to be intentionally provocative. They were wading into the backyard of [Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet of Colorado], into the most closely watched, hotly contested race of the cycle against a moderate. There wasn't anything that they could have done in this cycle that would have been more provocative to Democrats than that…"

"When they sent … paid field staffers into Colorado and made it clear that they weren't just giving Gardner a seal of approval, they were endorsing him and working to elect him, that was an incredible betrayal not just of Manchin but of everyone that they've worked with in Democratic politics," said the Democratic strategist. "You will not see a single Democratic Senate office working with No Labels again." [Pols emphasis]

John McCain, Joe Lieberman.

John McCain, Joe Lieberman.

With Sen. Manchin out, who do you suppose is taking over the "Democratic" co-chairmanship of No Labels? Get ready to laugh.

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is stepping into the position vacated by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) at the centrist group No Labels…

“I’m delighted to be joining No Labels at this critical time,” Lieberman said. “We are getting closer, as a nation, to healing our divisions and working together, but we have a long way to go. The 2016 presidential elections are a great opportunity to focus on problem-solving, and No Labels is the only group that can make that happen.”

Manchin announced Friday that he was stepping down from his position with No Labels. The move appeared to be connected to the group’s decision to endorse Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) in his race against Sen. Mark Udall (D), which outraged Democrats.

That's right–Joe Lieberman, the hawkish, heavy-on-the-former Democrat who lost Connecticut's Democratic Senate primary in 2006 only to win the election as an independent, is now the head Democrat at No Labels. After 2006, Lieberman remained uneasily within the Democratic fold, but his 2008 endorsement of Republican presidential candidate John McCain (above right) left him with few allies in the party–and he resigned after his last term ended in 2012. For most loyal Democrats today, Lieberman is more what you would call a "Pretendocrat."

On second thought, for this fake "nonpartisan" group, maybe Joe Lieberman is the perfect Pretendocrat? Not for actually attracting Democrats, of course. For pretending to! Because we suspect it will be difficult for No Labels to attract real Democrats going forward.

Journalists express frustration during discussion of election news coverage

(Interesting stuff - Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Columbia Journalism Review's Rocky Mountain Correspondent, Corey Hutchins, has posted highlights of a panel discussion Tuesday, moderated by Compass Colorado's Kelly Maher and me, on local news coverage of the 2014 election.

Here are three of Hutchins' eight highlights:

Bored on the Bus

KDVR’s Eli Stokols on covering the modern professional campaign:

"Unfortunately there were very few days where I sat there and I said, ‘Absolutely have to shoot this today,’ because it was so rare that these candidates were actually available, putting out public schedules, doing public events… I rode on the Udall bus, I went up to Fort Collins and Greeley a couple times to find Cory [Gardner] when he was speaking to Republicans there, and you know, you would get the same rehearsed, trite lines from all of them. And when you sat them down in an interview you got the same rehearsed, trite lines from both. And so maybe it is incumbent on us to be better, to push them out of their comfort zone a little bit … I think that’s the tough part of the modern campaign. Campaigns with money are so not reliant anymore on mainstream media to get their message out, especially in a market like this [in Colorado] where there is not such a critical mass of media."

The Denver Post didn’t want to cover ‘scripted theater’

Post politics editor [Chuck] Plunkett said his paper didn’t want to fall into the trap of covering what he called the “scripted theater” of the campaigns. So in the early spring, he said, he gathered staff for multiple substantive discussions about issues they wanted to address this election season, so they weren’t just “having to chase the Twitter around, having to chase the horse race around.” Some of the issues they decided to focus on were immigration, the ground game, and money, and how candidates evolved on issues. Also, for the first time, the paper held its own recorded debates in its auditorium instead of partnering with a TV station….

Didn’t approve this ad

CBS4’s [Shaun Boyd] provided some levity when she spoke of how she’d recoiled at seeing her on-air reporting appear in a political ad on TV. To her dismay, her station ran the ad on its airwaves. But, she said, other TV stations in Denver didn’t air it because they didn’t want to highlight the reporting of a competitor.

In his post, Hutchins discusses the journalists' frustration with the scripted answers from the candidates. Riccardi, in particular, talked about how closely the professional candidates stay on their talking points, and he said he hoped to walk away from the campaign trail more often in the future and write about the election from an outside-the-box perspective.

That's a good idea, but I thought local journalists could have at least tried to break the campaign script more often during the last election on many issues. And even if they didn't break it completely, they could have spotlighted candidates' manipulative or repetitive talking points more clearly for voters, like Eli Stokols did in his interview with Senator-elect Cory Gardner.

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Stephen Colbert Inevitably Discovers “Dr. Chaps”

When we say that the election of Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt to the Colorado General Assembly a week ago is a "victory" that Colorado Republicans will come to sorely regret, last night's episode of The Colbert Report is what we mean.

Raw Story:

“Yes,” Colbert replied, “it is reminiscent of the positive campaign the villagers ran to elect Frankenstein. But Klingenschmitt stands for so much more. He doesn’t hate the gays, he’s just concerned for them, as he demonstrates on his YouTube program.”

“The demonic spirits inside the homosexual agenda are trying to redefine family,” Klingenschmitt says in the clip, “trying to homosexualize your children. Jesus, if he were giving marriage counseling to two gay men who were married, Jesus would command them to get divorced.”

“Yes,” Colbert responded, “if Jesus were their marriage counselor, he would tell them to get divorced. And he would take 65 minutes to do it, so he could charge them the second hour. But it’s not just the gays — everyone needs a little Klingenschmitt exorcism.”

"If you're not voting for him, you're voting for the Democrat and quite honestly legislative majorities matter," said Klingenschmitt's predecessor in House District 15, former House Minority Leader Mark Waller, explaining how he or anyone could vote for a candidate who honestly believes that the President of the United States–among many, many others–is literally possessed by demons. Or that a sitting member of Congress wants to "join ISIS" in beheading Americans. Or that Obamacare "causes cancer," and the FCC is allowing "demonic spirits" to "visually rape your children." As our readers know, we could go on and on and on. The only thing that's changed now is that Klingenschmitt has actually won elected office–and as a state representative, Klingenschmitt metastasizes from irrelevant sideshow freak to a nationwide poster child for the far Republican right.

And before the story of "Dr. Chaps" is over, we predict Mark Waller will eat his words.

Welcome Back, J. Paul Brown!

Cletus Spuckler.

Cletus Spuckler.

As the Durango Herald reports today, one of the more colorful additions to the Colorado General Assembly from the 2010 Republican wave is coming back to the Capitol in January:

[A]s of the final tally of La Plata County cured ballots Wednesday night, [Rep. Mike] McLachlan was still trailing Republican challenger J. Paul Brown by 163 votes districtwide.

Brown had 17,246 to McLachlan’s 17,083, with 34,329 votes cast in total across the district.

Since Election Day, McLachlan has run up his vote total in La Plata County, getting 11,949 to Brown’s 10,621.

But it wasn’t enough to tip the scales.

Parker said the 0.95 percent margin of difference wasn’t close enough to trigger an automatic recount.

Rep. J. Paul Brown was ousted in 2012 by Democrat Mike McLachlan by a considerably bigger margin than he just recaptured the HD-59 seat with, which may rightfully make you wonder if HD-59 is destined to bounce back and forth between presidential and off years until the next reapportionment in 2020. It seems like the partisan divide in the district is close enough, and the swing between presidential and off year electorates wide enough, to set that in motion.

Democrats are sorry to lose McLachlan, even as they celebrate holding their majority in the House. Looking ahead, though, as we saw with Brown's last term in 2011-12, the short term loss could become a long-term bonus for Democrats. Rep. Brown frequently made headlines for his UN conspiracy theories, embarrassing homespun gaffes, and bizarre protest votes: once casting the only vote against a homeless youth prevention bill, and famously saying in explanation of his vote against children's health care coverage, "if I’m wrong, I guess, take me out behind the barn and give me a whipping."

In 2012, the voters of HD-59 did so. McLachlan was targeted by the gun lobby for his role in the passage of 2013's gun safety bills, even though McLachlan's primary contribution was to increase the magazine limit from 10 to 15 rounds in order to accommodate a variety of automatic pistols. But for all the money spent to oust McLachlan, a margin under 200 votes in a GOP wave year doesn't inspire much confidence for holding this seat in 2016.

And frankly, neither does J. Paul Brown.

Thursday Open Thread

"If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner."

–H. L. Mencken

Scuttlebutt: Did Bill Cadman Shaft Recall Hero Bernie Herpin?

Sen. Bernie Herpin (R).

Sen. Bernie Herpin (R).

Even though Colorado Republicans took over the state senate in this year's elections by a single seat, Democrats have consoled themselves with two wins both symbolically and strategically important: taking back the two seats lost in last year's recall elections in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. In Pueblo's Senate District 3, Democrats winning back the seat was practically a foregone conclusion: the district is overwhelmingly Democrats, and the recall would not have succeeded there were it not for Byzantine political squabbles in Pueblo that further weakened the incumbent.

In SD-11, covering urban Colorado Springs and relatively liberal Manitou Springs, the numbers don't favor Democrats nearly as much, and recall winner Bernie Herpin had at least some hope of keeping his seat. This is, after all, the seat that John Morse barely held in 2010 in addition to having lost last year. Reapportionment shored up the seat for Democrats to some degree, but it was still by far the more competitive of the two. What's more, these seats had enormous symbolic value after the nationwide attention paid to the 2013 recalls. In the aftermath of last week's elections, the ouster of both recall winners has been cited nationally as evidence that the Republican wave was at least partially broken in Colorado.

Part of the consoling irony for Democrats in Herpin's ouster by a wide margin a week ago is the man who ousted him: Michael Merrifield, a former state representative who also served as the state organizer for national gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. All told, the gun lobby's "wave of fear" strategy of using the Colorado recalls to forestall gun safety legislation in other states may be what took the real beating last Tuesday:

Now it’s gun-control activists who are crowing.

Mark Glaze, former executive director of the group Everytown for Gun Safety, said the results showed that when a significant portion of the electorate turns out, rather than a small, agitated minority, support for something like universal background checks for gun buyers is a politically winning position. (That was part of the package Hickenlooper, who was reelected Tuesday, signed into law.)

“The message remains that the [National Rifle Association] can bully politicians or buy them for a few pieces of silver but they have no influence over the general public,” Glaze said.

Bottom line: sources tell us that internal El Paso County rivalries may have kept the Senate Republicans from doing more to help Bernie Herpin this year, even after he became a national hero for the party because of his recall victory. In a year where money was lavished on Republican legislative candidates, there was apparently nothing in the way of outside money to defend this particular member of the GOP caucus in a wave Republican year. Responsibility for that, to the extent it's true, would fall on incoming Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman as the chief strategist of the GOP's Senate campaign efforts.

There is other evidence that Cadman didn't like and/or trust Bernie Herpin much, like Herpin's assignment to the frequently toxic Senate State Affairs Committee this year while Pueblo's George Rivera got more politically defensible assignments. Now, maybe the GOP saw data that made them write this seat off early, but we can tell you that Democrats made the full investment in SD-11 as with races they considered competitive. And if you think Pueblo's intra-Democratic relations are sketchy, compare them with the backstab fest that is the El Paso County Republican Party.

If Cadman did cede the one seat the gun lobby could have held on to from last year's historic recall elections, especially for (to put it diplomatically) nonstrategic reasons, we can't see how that will be good for the already tense partnership between the Dudley Browns of the world and the Colorado GOP.

In classic dodge, Gardner refuses to take government shutdown off the table

(Joke's on you – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Warning to Washington DC reporters: Here comes Senator-elect Cory Gardner! Gardner tried to slither past Colorado reporters by answering questions with falsehoods (See personhood.) or responding to queries with predictions about the future, instead of answers to the actual questions (See immigration.).

Now Gardner is trotting out his trademark "answer-a-question-by-saying-two-things-at-once" for Washington journalists and getting away with it!

Asked by ABC's “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos Sunday if Gardner's promise to be serious about governing means "taking things like shutting down the government off the table," Gardner replied:

"The government shutdown is a bad idea anytime, anywhere."

Translation: I won't answer your question because I don't want to rule out a government shutdown, but I want to make reporters think I won't vote to shut down the government (winky, wink to the Tea Party).

If you're thinking, give me a break, Republicans like Gardner won't shut down the government again, you should read Sen. Jeff Sessions' not-so-veiled threat to shut down the government to prevent Obama from stopping the deportation of some immigrants, as he's apparently planning to do this year. Talking Points Memo's Sahil Kapur reports in a piece titled "Top GOP Senator Hints at Government Shutdown Fight over Immigration:"

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That’s Right America, You Voted For The Ryan Plan!

Cory Gardner, Paul Ryan.

Cory Gardner, Paul Ryan.

The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman reports:

Next year, House Republicans will try again to transform Medicare and Medicaid, repeal the Affordable Care Act, shrink domestic spending and substantially cut the highest tax rates through the budget process. Then they will leave it to the new Senate Republican majority to decide how far to press the party’s small-government vision, senior House aides said this week.

House Republican officials said the first budget blueprint of the 114th Congress will not stray far from the plans drafted by Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and the departing Budget Committee chairman. Those plans, passed along party lines three times since Republicans took control of the House in 2011, were never going anywhere with the Senate in Democratic hands.

With this month’s Republican sweep in the midterm elections, the stakes have changed.

“They’re firing with real budget bullets,” said Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee. “Real people will get hurt.”

The so-called "Ryan Plan" budgets proposed by the Republican U.S. House majority since 2011 have been quite damaging to that party's electoral prospects, playing a significant role in the 2012 loss of the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan presidential ticket. The Ryan budget's huge tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, combined with proposed cuts to popular federal programs across the board–and especially the privatization of Medicare for future enrollees–poll abysmally, and have given Democrats vital evidence to support their case that Republicans don't care about the middle class.

At least that's what happened in 2012. In 2014, a very different midterm electorate handed control of the U.S. Senate to the same Republican Party that gave America the Ryan Plan budgets–including Colorado's own Sen.-elect Cory Gardner:

The last time the Ryan budget faced a vote in the Senate, in 2013, five Republicans voted against it: Ms. Collins; Dean Heller, a moderate-leaning Nevadan; Mike Lee of Utah; Rand Paul of Kentucky; and Ted Cruz of Texas, who saw the plan as too timid. It failed on an advisory vote, 40 to 59.

On the other hand, four Republican newcomers to the Senate — Representatives Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Steve Daines of Montana, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Cory Gardner of Colorado — are already on the record supporting the Ryan approach, with a fifth, Representative Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, in a runoff for the last outstanding Senate seat.

Despite the results of last week's midterm elections, we've seen no polling to indicate that the Ryan budget's cuts are any more popular now than they were two years ago. Just like the period between 2010 and the 2012 presidential elections, the gap between the midterm electorate's strident conservatism and the more representative cross-section of America that turns out in presidential years could be setting the GOP up for another failure in 2016. Republicans can't overcome a presidential veto of an unacceptable budget, which the GOP-controlled Senate may use reconciliation to pass without 60 votes: but they can dig themselves a much deeper hole with the voting public. And the results of this election may well have given Republicans the false sense of political security they need to keep digging.

What happens next? One way or another, Cory Gardner is going to help answer that question.

Polis To Head DCCC?

Rep. Jared Polis.

Rep. Jared Polis.

As the Denver Post's Mark Matthews reports:

For many legislators — especially those near the political center — taking the job is a risky proposition. It’s one reason why Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., initially hesitated in taking a similar job with Senate Democrats.

But the potential drawbacks aren’t stopping U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, from pursuing the DCCC chairmanship for the 2016 election cycle.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is expected to select the next DCCC chair sometime in the next week, following the decision by U.S. Rep. Steve Israel of New York to decline another term at the helm.

Polis reportedly is on the short list of contenders. Also said to be in the running: Donna Edwards of Maryland, Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts, Lois Frankel of Florida, Jim Himes of Connecticut and Joaquin Castro of Texas…

Chairing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is an important responsibility for Democrats going into 2016, some sense of the pressure can be seen in the losing battle fought by Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman Michael Bennet to protect seats this year. But those losses by most reports haven't damaged Bennet personally; and the connections gained from running such a major campaign effort are said to be worth the headaches.

In August, outgoing DCCC chairman Steve Israel lauded Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder as "one of our best fundraisers, and [who] just has a real sense of what has to happen in our campaigns." As Matthews reports, the final decision on who will chair the DCCC for the next election cycle rests with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has frequently trusted Rep. Polis with unusually important roles for a member with comparatively little seniority. Based on that, we'd say Polis' chances are pretty good.

Meet “Raging” Bill Cadman, Your Next Colorado Senate President

UPDATE #3: The goodwill over Ellen Roberts' win is short-lived: Kevin Lundberg is the new Senate Assistant Majority Leader, Vicki Marble the new GOP caucus chair. That's two of the GOP caucus' craziest members in leadership roles. Mark Scheffel will be the new Majority Leader.

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UPDATE #2: A welcome surprise–moderate GOP Sen. Ellen Roberts elected Senate President pro tempore.

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UPDATE: Bill Cadman unanimously elected President of the Colorado Senate as expected. 

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Sen. Bill Cadman.

Sen. Bill Cadman.

The new one-seat Republican majority in the Colorado Senate is meeting today to elect leadership for the upcoming legislative session. We haven't heard all the details about who is running for leadership positions, but the marquee race is already a foregone conclusion–Sen. Bill Cadman of Colorado Springs is widely expected to become the next President of the Colorado Senate.

For those who haven't had the "pleasure" of getting to know Bill Cadman, Dave Perry of the Aurora Sentinel offers a very useful primer. We should note that Cadman isn't very popular in Aurora these days, and there's a good reason:

And the new boss of the Colorado Senate, GOP state Sen. Bill Cadman of Colorado Springs? He’s ushering in a new era of non-partisan leadership under the gold dome, intent on putting Colorado back on the right track, if you know what I mean.

Cadman. Hmmmmm. Cadman? Sound familiar? It might if you’re from Aurora and still aching over the Aurora theater massacre. It might sound familiar if you’re part of the Focus on the Family fiasco, or if you’re an observer of politicians who stick their feet in their own mouths about putting their fists inside the dorsal orifices of other politicians…

Cadman hated gun control, said that Democrats wouldn’t bend to the GOP will, and implied the crazy northeast Colorado secession stunt was justified. If this is sounding like Cadman’s leading the state Senate bodes ill for Aurora don’t worry, it gets worse.

During the 2013 legislative session, as the state was still struggling with the aftermath of the Aurora theater shooting, Cadman and others appeared at a Denver Post forum focusing on the shooting and the Legislature’s response. Cadman clearly bristled when Tom Sullivan started asking questions about some lawmakers’ objection to gun and ammo restrictions. Sullivan’s son was killed during the shootings. He’s been a force for the government to do something ever since. Just after the forum, Sullivan approached Cadman to give him a collage of photos of his dead son, an effort — ill-advised or not —to put a face with the tragedy.

“I know what he looks like,” Sullivan said Cadman snapped at the ploy. The interchange made national headlines.

We also took note of the ugly exchange between Cadman and Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was killed in the Aurora shootings. But that was just one recent example of Cadman's sometimes erratic, often belligerent leadership style. Another came early this year, when Cadman blew his stack over the handling of a Republican bill, publicly threatening Democrats with recalls before belatedly realizing that he was the one in the wrong.

Dave Perry reminds us of still another:

During a state House session in 2005, then state Rep. Cadman and another lawmaker got into it on the floor over a bill allowing families of soldiers killed in action to don special license plates. When the bill’s sponsor offered amendments, Cadman called them “garbage.” So the lawmaker called Cadman garbage. So Cadman said, “If you try that again, I’ll ram my fist up your ass.”

…First Cadman tried to deny the incident, even though practically the entire House pretty much heard him. Then he refused to back off his curious threat. That only made the situation worse. Cadman’s critics sent him advice and products associated with his fist-shaking tirade. Then newspapers got into the fracas.

“What is shocking is not only Cadman’s reluctance to express regret but the fact that he wasn’t absolutely mortified by what he’d stooped to say,” the conservative Op-Ed page of the Rocky Mountain News said. “It would never occur to most people to use such an expression even in private, no matter how incensed they were over an affront, let alone utter such words in public before other elected officials.”

We've never really understood Cadman's leadership role in the Republican Senate caucus, other than perhaps to grade him on the curve. Compared to such regular embarrassments in the Colorado Senate GOP as Vicki Marble, we suppose Cadman doesn't look that bad. For whatever reason, the rare true moderate Republicans in the Colorado Senate, like Ellen Roberts, never seem to get a leadership nod–possibly because of the frequency with which moderate Republican Colorado Senators get knocked out in primaries.

Will Cadman turn over a new leaf as President of a one-seat Republican Senate majority, arguably the most visible Republican elected official in the state today? We have to think the next two years–not to mention 2016–will go better for Republicans if he can.

Told Ya So Part III: The Elephant in the Room

(Discuss - Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As Colorado Pols continues to scour the election results for positive data points from a mediocre result they continue to miss the larger issue from last Tuesday's electoral dysfunction: Democrats did not have a coherent message to run on nor candidates that could create one of their own.

Harry Truman, Truth Teller

The most glaring example of this and the latest victim of ignoring Harry Truman is Mark Udall:

What about Mark Udall in Colorado, another Democrat who lost in a purple state that Obama carried? Udall built his campaign narrative around a war on women by his opponent Rep. Cory Gardner. He, like Braley, ticked off a list of progressive issues — from minimum wage to pay equity to protecting Social Security — without providing any framing story to link them together. He left out who the villains are in the story.

Udall also committed the ultimate narrative sin: delivering your opponent's story. Here's the closing line of a Udall ad: "I'm Mark Udall. No one — not government, not Washington — should have the power to take those rights and freedoms away." Voters who wanted the anti-government candidate chose the real thing!

Udall would have had a much broader audience for his "war on women" message if he framed it as part of a broader war on American families by the rich and powerful. It is easy to make opposition to pay equity or a woman's right to make her own decisions part of this broader story, which speaks to Americans' deep concerns about their families.

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