Where’s SoS Gessler when Voter Fraud being committed by James O’Keefe?

Secretary of State Gessler warns us about voter fraud all the time. Now, we know he's most likely in the back pocket of the Koch Brothers and ALEC and fully intends to disenfranchise Democratic voters as his primary goal in this oh-so-noble effort. But, what if we were to give him the benefit of the doubt and presume he would enforce the integrity of our elections even as they are attacked in real time by Fox News provocateur James O'Keefe?

As Mother Jones and Colorado Pols have reported, the convict has been performing his special kind of reporting lately, which has been dutifully reported by Fox News and admirably debunked by our own 9News and others. With these reports it seems quite apparent the James O'Keefe is intent on manipulating Colorado's elections in this critical election year. 

And so, if SoS Scott Gessler doesn't see a problem with these manipulations, maybe we should make sure he knows that we don't appreciate what O'Keefe is doing. And maybe we should contact our Secretary of State now to implore him to stop James O'Keefe and have AG Suthers prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. 

And one must wonder if O'Keefe is violating his parole from that earlier conviction.

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Anybody Seen Doug Lamborn?

Doug Lamborn in hiding

Hey, is Doug Lamborn back there?

Megan Schrader of the Colorado Springs Gazette takes an interesting look at the (non) strategy of Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn:

Voters in the El Paso County-centered 5th Congressional District likely won't see a slew of yard signs for U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn.

He hasn't purchased TV ad time leading up to Election Day on Nov. 4.

And he's refused to debate Democratic challenger Irv Halter.

In fact, Lamborn has been conspicuously absent this election season despite the robust campaign Halter, a retired Air Force general, has launched against the eight-year incumbent.

But staying on the sidelines might be the best possible strategy for Lamborn.

As irritating as it may seem to voters and others who are just sick of Rep. Lamborn's dumbassery — and really, let's not pretend that the man isn't a complete embarrassment — from a strategic standpoint it's hard to disagree with this approach to re-election. Nobody is harmed more by a Lamborn interview than Lamborn himself. After all, the last time we heard from him, Lamborn was suggesting that military leaders resign as a show of disappointment with President Obama's foreign policy; even fellow Republicans such as Rep. Mike Coffman and Rep. Cory Gardner couldn't disagree fast enough.

Nevertheless, it's a damn shame that we have a Congressman in Colorado who is so bad that his re-election chances actually decline when he speaks about, well, anything. There's still an outside chance that Democrat Irv Halter can pull the upset in November, but even if he doesn't, it sounds like Lamborn is still walking around with a big target on his back (if you see him, that is). Here's Republican Rep. Mark Waller, who ran briefly for the GOP nomination for Attorney General this year, sounding very much like someone who is licking his chops for June 2016:

"Based on things I've heard in the community, it would not surprise me if Congressman Lamborn received another challenge from another Republican in two years," Waller said.

Hell, we'd be surprised if Lamborn ever makes it through an election cycle without a serious challenger. Lamborn is in Congress today because of 16,000 or so people who helped him win a Republican Primary in 2006, and only inertia has allowed him to remain in office thus far.

Has Rand Paul Ditched his Denver Visit, Scheduled to Start Tomorrow?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Rand Paul's office won't tell me whether he's still planning to visit Denver for a "Rediscovering God in America" conference tomorrow, beginning at 3 p.m. and running through 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

As of this week, Paul's name was listed on promotional materials as a "special guest," along with Sen. Ted Cruz and others.

Paul is the Senate sponsor of the federal personhood bill, which Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner says is nonexistent or symbolic, depending on when you ask him.

If he comes to Denver, with Gardner somewhere in the general vicinity, you wonder if Paul will talk about his legislation, called the Life at Conception Act, at the conference, like he does in this video.

Below is the invitation to the Westminster event, which is targeted at pastors and their wives:

Even More Right Wing Ballot BS Debunked By 9NEWS

Kudos again to 9NEWS' excellent reporting in the last 24 hours, discrediting a flurry of alarmist nonsense from conservatives about Colorado's mail ballot system. Last night, reporter Brandon Rittiman debunked another truly bizarre lie about Colorado elections, broadcast to millions of FOX News viewers across America yesterday by lead anchor Megyn Kelly:

Tuesday's episode of a Fox News host Megyn Kelly's program incorrectly told viewers that Colorado voters are now able to print ballots using their home computers and vote by turning them in…

The host described it as a "first of its kind election law: a set of rules that literally allows residents to print ballots from their home computers, then encourages them to turn ballots over to 'collectors' in what appears to be an effort to do away with traditional polling places."

While traditional polling places are a thing of the past because of the law, the claim that it allows for home-printed ballots is simply false…

Once again, none other than Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler is obliged to confirm the news that any voter conversant with the process already knows: this is completely bogus. Other than overseas deployed members of the military, who had the option of being emailed a ballot before last year's election modernization bill, nobody can "print a ballot from their home computer."

It's important to remember that this was not intended to cause controversy locally, since locals know that you can't print a ballot from your computer. The purpose of this very deliberate lie from FOX News is to generate even more vote fraud mythology to reinforce the beliefs of a segment of the electorate who already believes it's happening. Just like James O'Keefe's baiting low-level campaign workers to recite an unworkable fraud proposal, the facts simply do not support the hysteria. Because we think FOX News either knows or should know such elementary facts about Colorado voting law before broadcasting them, the only reasonable conclusion is that the hysteria is an end unto itself.

Watch the video above and tell us we're wrong.

James O’Keefe Helps Debunk Mail Ballot Fraud Myths

James OKeefe, wearing a Mark Udall sticker.

James OKeefe, wearing a Mark Udall sticker.

Conservative media lit up yesterday after conservative provocateur James O'Keefe released a video from his recent "vote fraud" sting attempts in Colorado. Last weekend, we got reports that O'Keefe was in the state attempting to bait Democratic field campaign workers into endorsing fraudulent acts involving mail ballots. Word spread fast from there, but evidently O'Keefe had been on the ground for some time before his presence was publicized.

In the end, it does appear that O'Keefe got what he wanted: out of presumably dozens of attempts where he was informed that his proposal would be felony vote fraud, it looks like he found two people willing to follow his bait into a very, very bad idea: collecting unused mail ballots from students who have moved or transferred, completing them, and turning them in.

Before we go any further, everyone does realize that is a serious crime, right? Good. Let's be very clear about what happened here: O'Keefe was able to lead a couple of low-level table staffers into saying some eye-poppingly stupid things. One agreed with him that turning in other people's ballots would be morally okay, the other actually volunteered "ghetto Aurora" as a good place to collect unused ballots. In both cases, what these staffers for nonprofits Work for Progress and Greenpeace respectively said was absolutely termination-offense unacceptable. We'll go a step further and say the one who got all racial about helping out O'Keefe with his fraud designs must, for the common good, never work in politics again. But in neither case is there any suggestion that these staff would have come up with the idea to do this were it not for O'Keefe's prompting. There's no actual plan by anyone to do what he suggests.

And there's a good reason for that: as our local media has done a good job explaining since O'Keefe's video broke yesterday, the ballot fraud O'Keefe is proposing simply would not work. 9NEWS reports that even GOP Secretary of State Scott Gessler can't defend O'Keefe's allegations:

"I can't promise people that it will happen," Sec. of State Scott Gessler said. "I can't promise people that it can't happen. But what I can say is we've got a pretty good system and we're always trying to make it better." [Pols emphasis]

County clerks are required by law to verify signatures on ballots. Gessler says there is a loophole in that law allowing signatures to go unverified if a witness signs the ballot.

But clerks contend witness signatures are rare, and they still have the power to scrutinize those ballots if they seem suspicious.

Witness-signed ballots are indeed rare–and as the Denver clerk's office explains, you can't just fish a ballot out of somebody else's mailbox and send it in. It will be caught:

"That check of signature verification is really the stopgap to prevent ballots that are being filled out by people who are not the voter," said Amber McReynolds, the director of Denver's elections division.

About 1.5% of the ballots turned into the Denver clerk's office so far have been flagged for signature verification according to this story. That doesn't mean they're fraudulent, of course, it just means that the signature on file with the Denver clerk didn't match the signature on the ballot envelope closely enough to mass automatic muster–or weren't signed at all. Affected voters are notified and given the opportunity to "cure" their ballot by verifying their signature. That's how the system has always worked for absentee and mail-in ballots, and it actually works well. Without anything to go on, what's a fraudster supposed to do to fake someone's signature?

Yes, there's probably some elaborate scheme that could be concocted to obtain examples of signatures of voters to believably forge on mail ballots. If we were to think about all the ways we could violate, you know, just about any law, there are elaborate Rube Goldberg machine ideas we could come up with to pull it off.

But nobody's doing these crazy things to commit vote fraud. It's much cheaper to get out the vote in legal ways.

In a sense, it's good that O'Keefe gave our county clerks a chance to explain how voting by mail actually works in Colorado. It won't mean much to the right wing media breathlessly reporting on O'Keefe's "proven vote fraud" video, or the consumers of said media who aren't really interested in facts that might render them less agitated. But the people who matter–Colorado voters–can be assured that our system does work.

When even Scott Gessler grudgingly admits it, you can feel pretty confident.

Infighting and Petty Posturing in Beauprez Camp

Dustin Olson, via Glamour Shots

Dustin Olson, via Glamour Shots

When Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez was putting his campaign together last spring, he made a point of trying to include top staffers from other flailing or near-dead Republican campaigns. This was easier said than done, according to Republican insiders, who say that Beauprez thought he could make a nice stew with a bunch of mismatched ingredients.

What might have seemed a good idea to Beauprez at the time has resulted primarily in infighting, petty posturing, and silly turf wars that are straining the seams of a campaign desperately trying to find some sort of momentum in the closing weeks of the election…and threatening to poison other GOP campaigns along the way.

As Coloradans count down the last two weeks of the 2014 election cycle, rumors of trouble inside the Beauprez campaign have seeped outside of Republican circles. From what we hear, problems that were simmering over paychecks and grievances about who really represented the "top of the ticket" (Beauprez or GOP Senate nominee Cory Gardner) have grown more heated in recent weeks as Beauprez has failed to gain any real traction in his bid to unseat Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Bob Beauprez for Governor

Bob Beauprez’s Oct. 14th campaign finance report.

It's no secret that the Republican Party in Colorado has been scattered in every direction in recent years. The emergence of the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party in 2009 significantly altered the GOP power structure, but upheaval within Colorado Republican circles actually dates back to the bitter 2006 gubernatorial primary between Beauprez and Marc Holtzman.

Beauprez thought he could find some measure of Kumbaya by recruiting a top Holtzman staffer — Ryan Lynch — to join his campaign after State Sen. Greg Brophy ended his campaign and took Beauprez's side during the "Dear God, anybody but Scott Gessler" phase of the GOP Primary (Lynch had been working on Brophy's sputtering campaign for governor).

But Beauprez already had Republican strategist Dustin Olson at the top of his campaign hierarchy, in addition to Communications Director (and son-in-law) Allen Fuller. From what we understand, Beauprez probably screwed up by approving a huge disparity in salaries for the three men. Courting Lynch so insistently probably didn't make the Alpha Males of Team Beauprez feel much better, either.

Campaign finance reports (at left) show that Olson alone collects nearly double the monthly salary of Lynch and Fuller combined. Olson was paid $12,000 at the beginning of October, with Lynch and Fuller each taking home $6,500. Interestingly, Beauprez's reports are careful to note that Olson and Lynch hold similar titles with the campaign; both Olson and Lynch are listed as "Manager and Deputy Managers," a title share that surely makes Lynch feel much better about his bank account.

Bob's Beard

Allen Fuller still has the best beard of the Beauprez staffers.

Adding to the drama has been Beauprez's Lt. Governor running mate Jill Repella (remember her? No?) Repella has made it a point in her "public" appearances with Republican Party faithful to talk about how "proud" she is to be "representing the top of the Republican ticket in Colorado." You could argue whether Beauprez or Gardner truly maintains the "top spot" in Colorado GOP campaign circles, though on a broader scale, the implications of a Gardner victory are much more important for Republicans. This has become a regular source of irritation for Republicans in Colorado, many of whom would probably side with Gardner if they had to choose one or the other.

We don't want to overstate the importance of any of this, but it should not be ignored, either.

You can often tell a great deal about the direction of a campaign based on the mood of the core people involved. This kind of infighting can, and does, happen from time to time, but you usually see it when a campaign has reached its conclusion and the great Monday-morning quarterbacking begins. The fact that these rumors are spilling out now is a bad omen in general for Beauprez's campaign.

Pollsters (Still) Getting Latino Vote Wrong in Colorado

The rollercoaster of polling results in Colorado has been of the more prominent stories of the 2014 election cycle, and it is a story we would expect to see many media outlets revisit once Election Day has finally come and gone. Polling results for various races have been all over the map in the last two months — some more obviously ridiculous than others (we're looking at you, Quinnipiac) — and politicos on both sides of the aisle have been scratching their heads at the mix of numbers. 

One of the more consistent inconsistencies, however, appears to be a result of errors trying to survey Latino Voters. We mentioned this last week as well, but here's more from Buzzfeed News:

In 2010, Sen. Harry Reid was engaged in a bitter battle with Sharron Angle. He was headed for a loss, polls said.

Despite polls showing him down about 3% on average, he won by 5.6%. The surprise was largely attributed to Latino voters being polled incorrectly. Nate Silver wrote about this after hearing from Matt Barreto, of Latino Decisions, a polling firm focused on the Latino vote.

Now with the 2014 midterm election looming, Barreto argues to BuzzFeed News that it’s happening again, this time in Colorado where polls show Republican Rep. Cory Gardner leading Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

“Even if you give other polls the benefit of the doubt and assume the rest of their statewide numbers are correct — if you pull their Latino numbers out and put ours in — instead of Udall being down by 3, he’s up 3 to 4,” Barreto said. [Pols emphasis]

That's a pretty significant swing that is beyond the margin of error in most polls. So how does it happen?

Latino Decisions says that mainstream polls fail in capturing the nuance of the Latino vote because many only poll in English, with small samples of Latinos somewhere in the 40-60 range, whereas they survey 400-600 bilingually. Cell-phone only, Spanish-speaking, lower socio-economic status Latinos are the most Democratic of all Latino voters, they argue, and are the most difficult and costly voters to include in a poll, according to a recent blog post. Polls in English, on the other hand, oversample higher income Latinos who are more likely to lean Republican, according to Barreto.

A recent Latino Decisions/NCLR Action Fund poll found that 66% of Latinos say they will or are likely to vote for Udall, while only 17% said they would definitely or are likely to vote for Gardner. But of those who were interviewed in Spanish, 76% said they will vote for or are likely to vote for Udall.

Interesting food for thought as field operations take over the spotlight.

Has Right-Wing Media – And a Special Booking Agency – Killed Beauprez’s Chances?

Beauprez-Profile-Right

The vast collection of bizarre online media programs and bunker-crazy talk-radio hosts has probably cost Bob Beauprez the governor's office.

Beauprez can't shake off the digital archive of underground thought that he articulated on these shows beginning after his last gubernatorial loss in 2006 and continuing into this very year. It's defined him.

Calling Obama "a different kind of American than any I know" on the "Talk to Solomon Show," saying, on the Talkback with Chuck Wilder Show, that there's a “growing sentiment” that America might be on the “verge of something very, very bad,” and “folks realize they may need to protect themselves against the government that was supposed to be instituted to protect us," warning, on the Internet show “Christian Today,” that "I hope and pray we don’t see another civil war but this administration is pushing the boundaries like none I think we’ve ever, ever seen," expressing his love for the "Tea Party movement," on KLZ 560-AM's Wake Up with Randy Corporon, as "the healthiest thing we have seen in very long time in America," and accusing Americans of being like "sheep" who’d blindly allow the government to implant microchips in their bodies.

It goes on and on, and you can read more here and here. And if you bottom feed on the Internet for a while, you can probably find something new and shocking yourself.

How did Beauprez get there? How did he find all these weird shows?

It's a good bet that many of them came from Beauprez's apparent booking agency, called "SpecialGuests.com."

This outfit's special guests are truly special, but in the depressing sense, and include a collection of pundits plucked from the right-wing underground. Stars include Gun Owners of America Director Larry Pratt and Phyllis Schlafly, to give you an idea of what's available today.

On SpecialGuests.com, Beauprez's description references his right-wing blog, A Line of Sight, which would have certainly attracted the shadowy shows he frequented:

ABOUT YOUR GUEST, BOB BEAUPREZ:

…Since 2007, Bob has published a monthly e-magazine called A Line of Sight (http://www.alineofsight.com/), a public policy and opinion resource on current political issues. Then, in 2009, he authored his first book: A Return to Values: A Conservative Look at His Party…

Bob continues to stay politically active, guest hosting on various radio talk shows, doing numerous media interviews nationally, and maintains a busy public speaking schedule.

Beauprez's "numerous media interviews," and the conspiracy-tinged questions he was asked as a "special guest," are now a special part of his downfall.

Mike Coffman: “I am a Proud Member of the Party of No”

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman has worked hard over the last two years to distance himself from Republican Congressman Mike Coffman, and for good reason. Mike Coffman has said some things in previous years that Mike Coffman would rather voters not remember in 2014.

Mike Coffman is a problem for Mike Coffman in CD-6 as he tries to convince voters that he's not the same guy who was first elected to a much more-heavily Republican district in 2008. As the Aurora Sentinel noted in its endorsement of Democrat Andrew Romanoff earlier this month, "only one of the candidates would vote on most issues the same way you would, and that’s Andrew Romanoff."

There are plenty of examples of this dichotomy at play, but rarely are they as stark as this video from a 2010 Tea Party rally in which Coffman declares — repeatedly — that he is "a proud member of the Party of 'No.'"

Yeah, that's not good.

New Ads Slam Jeffco Republicans Over School Board Antics

Hard shots continue against Jefferson County Republican candidates tied to the controversy surrounding the new conservative school board majority. Check out new ads ad targeting SD-19 GOP candidate Laura Waters Woods (above) and SD-16's Tim Neville (below). Neville, as we've discussed, is the brother-in-law of lightning-rod Jeffco board member Julie Williams.

The Huffington Post's Samantha Lachman published a great story yesterday evening on the potential effects of the school board's recent history review drama on the upcoming elections. The school board majority is not on the ballot this year, but many Republicans demonstrably tied to Williams and the school board are. The protests against the majority's history review proposal are arguably the highest-visibility grassroots actions in Jeffco in years, uniting citizens with a variety of political views against the common enemy of ideological censorship. And as we've been opining for some weeks, the Jeffco school board's ideological flight of fancy could be the game-changer of 2014 in Colorado's foremost bellwether county.

"For the first time in my life, I will probably vote a straight Democratic ticket." [Pols emphasis]

That realization came as something of a surprise to non-practicing attorney Wendy McCord, who has always thought of herself as a Republican. The mother of two children in Jefferson County's public school system, McCord told The Huffington Post that she has been politically transformed by the actions of the new conservative majority on the county school board, which presides over the state's second-largest school district.

Here in Jefferson County, a bellwether battleground that is almost evenly split between Republicans, Democrats and independents, a local educational controversy is resonating with county voters who otherwise might not have been engaged in this year's elections. Frustrated Republicans like McCord could be the deciding votes in Colorado's gubernatorial race, in which Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) faces a strong challenge from former Rep. Bob Beauprez (R), as well as its Senate race, in which Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is in danger of being unseated by Republican challenger Rep. Cory Gardner…

The school board controversy is especially relevant given the pivotal role Jefferson County plays in statewide elections. An informal saying here is "As Jeffco goes, so goes Colorado," referencing the fact that the county, which encompasses the suburbs west of Denver, has voted with the winners in U.S. Senate races since 1992 and gubernatorial contests since 1978. [Pols emphasis]

The story quotes Democratic Sen. Andy Kerr, himself fighting off Julie Williams-endorsed Tony Sanchez in SD-22 (new ad in that race follows after the jump) saying that the actions of the new Jefferson County school board majority are at the top of Jeffco voters' minds as he walks neighborhoods. That's consistent with what we're hearing in terms of polling results–which is driving the ads you see here hammering away at Jefferson County Republicans tied to Williams. It does appear Jefferson County voters understand that the controversy at the school board has partisan Republican origins.

Michael Clark, a registered independent who was educated in Jefferson County, suggested that the school board issue could impact November's statewide races if voters take their frustrations out on candidates who are politically aligned with the conservative board members. (No recall election has been initiated for the board itself.) For instance, Beauprez said in an interview earlier this month that the student protesters were being manipulated by their teachers.

"A lot of people were put off by his comments," Clark told HuffPost.

Bottom line: if the anecdotes in this story manifest on Election Night as votes, Julie Williams could play a bigger role in the 2014 elections than anyone who supported her election to this school board ever imagined. The decision to plunge headlong into a radical agenda of "reform" by this board, in a politically moderate and divided place like Jefferson County, could go down in history as a cardinal error; the step too far that provokes a blowback much bigger than anything a school board can achieve would ever be worth.

For Republicans in and outside Jefferson County, we're talking major disaster.

Meanwhile Out in Sagebrush Country…

It’s hard to get a word in edgewise, in the midst of a heated election season about anything, really, other than the horserace, the latest candidate blunder, this attack and that parley.   But the world, even in the lonely places of Western Colorado, has not stopped because this or that candidate did or said this or that.

The governor’s Blue Ribbon Energy Task Force is meeting, even went on a controversial field trip to Battlement Mesa,and had to cancel a meeting.  Miss that piece on our favorite political blog—even though its genesis was in a big looming fight wrought with political intrigue?  No you probably didn’t. 

Or what about the Sage Grouse?  Not one but two species heading toward a listing in Colorado unless stakeholders act fast, and what has it become?  Like the Task Force just an opportunity for candidates to spar over and pivot a nice pirouette around.

The Sage Grouse came up in a recent Garfield County BOCC debate, and has come up in the gubernatorial race as well.  But it’s not often introduced this time of year as a subject to solve, but as a cudgel to bludgeon an opponent or an issue to duck if the latest polling suggests it ought to be. 

It’s not like the grouse’s habitat has been protected, that any great stride has taken place, that the sage grouse took a break on teetering toward extinction.  No, the listing is still imminent, time is still wasting, and leadership is still lacking or distracted while solutions wait for politics to play out, making an Endangered Species Act listing increasingly likely.
 
Unless the state acts fast to get stakeholders to the table and work with the BLM, the oil and gas industry, local governments, conservationists, and others make a real, protective plan to save the Sage Grouse. By all accounts this is a winning plan for Colorado:protecting Sage Grouse habitat also secures valuable hunting lands, helps fuel a multi-billion dollar economy, and doesn't unduly impact oil and gas development–despite the common refrain that it would from some special interest groups.
 
Here's the deal: Colorado faces important choices.  Some include the ones we are hearing about to the near exclusion of everything else–picking this or that candidate, supporting that or this ballot measure. But other choices also need made that could have an even more profound, and lasting, impact on our state and the world's wildlife. 

Can the election get here soon enough?  Let’s hope it does for the Sage Grouse.

 

 

Money trail indicates RMGO recognizes the toxicity of its own brand

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

RMGOPistol

With all the negative attention on Rocky Mountain Gun Owners of late, you'd think the outfit might want to hide its name when it attempts to influence voters. On the other hand, RMGO isn't known to care about what normal people think.

It appears, though, RMGO has actually gotten the message that its RMGO name scares people. Instead of simply using its independent expenditure committee "RMGO SUPERPAC" to oppose at least one state senate candidate, RMGO is sending money to do so to an entity called "Colorado Liberty PAC."

Exactly $55,000 of the $60,000 donated to Colorado Liberty PAC comes from RMGO, according to campaign finance records. (The other $5,000 came from the "Colorado Tea Party.")

And the designated filing agent for Colorado Liberty PAC is Joseph Neville, who runs RMGO in Colorado and serves as its notorious lobbyist here. So RMGO apparently controls Colorado Liberty PAC. Neville did not return an email seeking comment.

In turn, Colorado Liberty PAC is sending mailers attacking SD 22 candidate Andy Kerr, who's Jeffco district is populated by people whom, RMGO has apparently concluded, don't like the RMGO brand.

See a Colorado Liberty PAC mailer attacking Andy Kerr 10-2014.

And another one attacking Kerr.

Betsy Markey a Bright Spot In Latest PPP Poll; Gov, Senate Updates

UPDATE: Here's another poll to add to the mixMonmouth University ties the Senate race at Cory Gardner 47%, Mark Udall 46%. This poll also shows Gov. John Hickenlooper leading Bob Beauprez by seven points, 50-43%.

—–

Betsy Markey.

Betsy Markey.

The Denver Post's John Frank reports on today's Public Policy Polling numbers, which shows Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner leading by the same comfortless 3-point margin we've seen throughout October, and Gov. John Hickenlooper leading Bob Beauprez by the same statistically insignificant single point:

Gardner received 46 percent and Udall took 43 percent in a Public Policy Polling survey of likely voters released Tuesday. The edge is within the 3.5 percent margin of error. The other candidates in the race get a combined 5 percent with another 7 percent undecided.

It is the latest poll in a long line that show the Republican challenger ahead of the Democratic incumbent.

The governor’s race is even closer, the poll found, with Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper holding a one-point edge, 45 percent to 44 percent, against Republican challenger Bob Beauprez. The other candidates on the ballot get 4 percent with 7 percent undecided…

It's the story you know: both races are very close, and the all-star Democratic field campaign has the proven ability, at least in theory, to close the gap in the U.S. Senate race just like 2010. Looking down the ballot, however, there is a pleasant surprise for Democrats. From PPP's memo:

Further down the ticket the closest race is for Treasurer, where incumbent Republican Walker Stapleton leads Democratic challenger Betsy Markey 42/40. [Pols emphasis] Stapleton's lead had been 10 points when we last polled the state in July. Republicans have larger leadsin the other down ballot races- Wayne Williams is up 36/31 on Joe Neguse for Secretary of State and Cynthia Coffman has a 46/32 advantage over Don Quick for Attorney General.

There are several factors we can think of that would explain Treasurer candidate Betsy Markey closing eight points to within striking distance from the last PPP poll–Markey's higher name recognition as a former member of Congress, and effective ads hitting incumbent Walker Stapleton. Cynthia Coffman's large lead over Don Quick in this poll, combined with Markey's strength, may speak to a simple wisdom of running qualified women candidates in these downballot races. In 2010, there was a significant undervote–five percent or more–in the secretary of state, treasurer, and attorney general races. Finding the electable edge here is a perennial challenge, and we'll be interested to see if results this year point to a new strategy.

As for today, Democrats appear to have good reason to get serious about winning the Treasurer's race.