Clinton Pulls Ads in Colorado

First Read is reporting that Hillary’s campaign is feeling confident enough with her standing here in Colorado that they have pulled their ads while they have chosen to continue their ad buys in Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  The most recent poll of Colorado (prior to the RNC) showed Hillary up by 8 points.

Here’s a link (story halfway down the page):

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/first-read-democrats-bounce-back-n616921

Fact Check:  Gardner Opposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform and Backed Government Shutdown

(Check out the update — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Update: After seeing the comments attacking Denver Post editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett, I asked him to comment on my blog post below. I regret not seeking comment from him before posting, but here’s what Plunkett said via email:

Gardner has called for acting on immigration reform. He stood and clapped when Obama asked in is SOTU in 2014 calling for Congress to get it done. He’s for a path to legal status. Yes, he says the border situation has to be secure, and I understand that some use that condition to dodge real reform, but Gardner has for the last two years been more friendly to the issue than others.

I include this piece from Mark Matthew’s in 2014 to show what I mean.

I get it that the use of the word “comprehensive” is too much of a buzzword and it isn’t specific enough. And were I writing specifically about immigration I would have had to have been more detailed. But in the context of a broader editorial about leadership styles, a 10,000-foot view comparison between Gardner’s approach and Cruz/Trump, Gardner is much different. Cruz called for deporting 12 million people in the country illegally, for example.

—————-

In an editorial this weekend holding out U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner as the model of the way forward for the Republican Party, The Denver Post claimed Gardner “supports comprehensive immigration reform.”

In fact, then U.S. Rep. Gardner opposed a 2103 comprehensive immigration reform bill, which died in the Republican-controlled House, after it passed by a bipartisan 68-32 vote in the U.S. Senate.

Gardner said at the time immigration reform has to start with border security, and he called for  “additional personnel on the border,” an “e-verify system,” and “additional security, a fence, you name it, on the border.”

Sounds much like Trump, even though The Post’s editorial, titled “How will the GOP rebuild after Trump,” aimed to contrast Gardner with Trump.

Since then, Gardner has called for immigration reform, but the issues section of his website doesn’t list immigration at all. There’s no indication that his position has changed or that he’s for comprehensive immigration reform, in any real sense of the term.

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Rep. Justin Everett Called Out For RNC Anti-LGBT Assholery

Colorado Rep. Justin Everett (R).

Colorado Rep. Justin Everett (R).

We’ve talked a couple of times already about the starkly conservative platform adopted last week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Where the GOP’s official party platform addressed rights for LGBT Americans, as ratified it was so far backward relative to the evolution of national sentiment on the issue that Colorado’s Republican attorney general pronounced herself “ashamed” at the direction her party was taking.

Cynthia Coffman may or may not have known how much of that platform was home-grown right here in Colorado:

The 2012 GOP platform calls same-sex marriage “an assault on the foundations of our society.” With the Republican Platform Committee not yet sharing updated language with reporters, it’s not clear if the 2016 platform will say that as well. But from a hotly debated amendment, it’s clear divisions in the GOP over gay marriage exist. First came an amendment offered by Colorado delegate Justin Everett: “Where it says ‘Children raised in a two-parent household,’ I want to insert before ‘two,’ ‘traditional….” [Pols emphasis]

That’s right: Colorado’s own Rep. Justin “Sleepy Dwarf” Everett was one of the driving forces behind the GOP platform’s hard lurch to the right in 2016, offering an amendment to insert the word “traditional” into a plank about how two-parent households are better off. By “traditional,” Everett of course means “Adam and Eve” and not “Adam and Steve.”

You get the idea.

But as you can see in this video clip from California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Everett’s amendment drew an irate response from at least one Republican on the Platform Committee:

That raised the ire of New York delegate Annie Dickerson, who had lost other battles over same-sex marriage language in a subcommittee meeting earlier. “This is outrageous to suggest that children of a gay couple are more likely to be completely unbalanced and use drugs in droves and be criminals. This is so provocative.”

Nonetheless,

Other members questioned if the language insults single parents and the adult children of gay parents as well. But the vote of the 112-member committee endorsed adding the word “traditional.”

Like we said about Cynthia Coffman, we do believe that the anger expressed by RNC delegate Annie Dickerson over the unapologetically anti-LGBT language in the Republican Party’s 2016 platform is legitimate. Unfortunately, it appears to be the minority view within the Republican Party. That delegates approving the platform sided overwhelmingly with Everett against Dickerson is the story this year, not the ultra-minority who dissented.

If Republicans want to recover the support their platform will cost them this year by 2020, we suggest fewer Justin Everetts.

Clarice Navarro “Pre-Buts” Crisanta Duran For Trump

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Rep. Crisanta Duran, the Majority Leader of the Democratic-controlled Colorado House, scored a big coup with her scheduled address to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this coming Thursday. The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch reports:

[A]lthough she received only a week’s notice to prepare the biggest speech of her political career so far, Duran’s past aligns well with the campaign of presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.

“It’s an amazing opportunity and an amazing moment, when we’re on the verge of having the first woman president, not because she is a woman but because she has the right vision for America,” Duran said Friday.

Rep. Duran’s speech at the DNC this week is just one of dozens of speeches from Democratic elected officials, activists, and others intended to present Democrats as the more diverse, more mainstream, and above all the more sane and prudent choice for Americans compared to last week’s parade of horrors at the Trump Republican Party’s convention in Cleveland. Duran probably won’t net any more cable news face time in her speaking slot than GOP U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn did, but considering Glenn is a Senate candidate and was speaking much closer to prime time, Duran is still on the receiving end of quite an honor. Also, Duran’s speaking voice doesn’t come across like fingernails of a chalkboard a la former Rep. Libby Szabo’s forgettable RNC speech, so there’s that.

We did want to take note of the “pre-buttal” response to Rep. Duran from what appears to be the Team Trump’s foremost Latina surrogate in Colorado, Rep. Clarice Navarro of Pueblo:

“Latinos across America want the same things I want for my Latino children,” said Navarro, a rising Republican star who introduced Sarah Palin at the Western Conservative Summit on July 1 and has been lauded by the RNC.

“They want a safe America, they want a prosperous America with jobs, they want a smaller government, they want an America that provides a solid education,” Navarro said. “The liberal progressives haven’t done that for Latinos in America for the last eight years, and Rep. Duran, in the majority, hasn’t done it for Colorado.”

First of all, somebody should tell Navarro about the millions of jobs created during the Obama presidency?

But perhaps more important–like having her photo taken with Donald Trump, a photo now certain to be used against her with Pueblo voters–once again the choice of Navarro as the GOP’s countermessenger to Democrats taking the national stage is strategically very questionable to us. However strongly you feel for or against Trump, the simple fact is that Trump is alienating large numbers of Americans, including overwhelming numbers of Latinos. The decision to publicly align with Trump in any even remotely competitive race, especially in a place like Pueblo and southeast Colorado, is fraught with uncertainty that hinges on Trump’s own popularity. If the polls that show Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton in a close race prove accurate, it may not matter as much.

But if Trump gets slaughtered on Election Day, a lot of Republicans who are perceived to have aligned themselves with Trump will go down with him. In that event, Navarro may sorely regret taking on her high-profile Trump surrogate role.

Minimum Wage Increase Campaign Submits Yuuge Signature Haul

2016minimumwageA press release from Colorado Families for a Fair Wage announces their submission of over 200,000 petition signatures in support of their ballot measure to raise the minimum wage in Colorado to $12 an hour by 2020–more than double what was needed to qualify for the ballot in November:

Today, a coalition of business owners, workers and supporters with Colorado Families for a Fair Wage delivered boxes containing petitions with 200,000 signatures to place a ballot initiative that will raise the Colorado minimum wage to $12 by 2020 on the November ballot. The 200,000 signatures is more than double the 98,492 signatures needed to qualify, showing overwhelming support for the measure.

“It’s clear our measure to raise the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 will be on the November ballot,” said Patty Kupfer, Colorado Families for a Fair Wage campaign manager “Raising the minimum wage is fair and smart. It’s fair because people working full time should earn enough to support their families. It’s smart because when working people have more money in their pockets, they spend it here in Colorado, boosting our economy and helping our communities thrive.”

The average age of a minimum wage earner is 35 – and more than 86 percent of minimum wage earners are over the age of 20. A full-time minimum wage worker takes home less than $300/week, not nearly enough to afford food, rent and other basic needs. In Colorado, a minimum wage worker needs to work 80 hours per week to afford a basic two bedroom apartment.

“Even though I work full-time as a nursing assistant, I can’t afford to support us without public assistance,” said Marrisa Guerrero, a mom raising a school-age daughter. “We have no choice but to rely on subsidized housing, can’t afford health insurance and we even struggle to buy enough food for us to eat. I always thought if I worked hard and played by the rules, I’d be able to make it, but that isn’t going to happen until wages are raised.”

Extensive research shows that modestly raising the minimum wage helps the economy by increasing consumer spending – and does not result in job loss in sectors most likely to hire minimum wage workers. Because low and middle-income workers are more likely to spend pay increases than higher paid workers, each $1/hour wage increase creates a ripple effect in spending, generating $1.20 in the local economy, potentially leading to further job growth.

“Gradually increasing Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 by 2020 is the right thing for businesses, said Yoav Lurie, CEO and Founder of Simple Energy. “Higher wages drive better results, give customers more money to spend in our businesses, and create a better business climate. That’s why the majority of business leaders support raising the minimum wage.”

The Denver Business Journal reports that, after considering a smaller minimum wage increase ballot measure of their own, business interests led by the Colorado Restaurant Association are going with straight opposition to any further minimum wage increase:

Leaders of the Keep Colorado Working effort argue, however, that the proposal is an extreme one, especially after a 2006 voter-approved minimum-wage hike has upped the bottom level of pay by 61 percent in the past 10 years.

And while they acknowledge that the issue is a popular populist cause that is likely to draw people to the polls — both presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her former challenger, Bernie Sanders, supported a national minimum-wage hike in their campaigns — they believe that they can reach voters by explaining what they say is the negative impact on local companies.

The effort is likely to spend between $2 million and $3 million, said Loren Furman, CACI senior vice president of state and federal relations.

We expect this to be a good fight. Support for raising the minimum wage is running high after years of organizing by the “Fight for 15” coalition and both Democratic presidential candidates making a call for a minimum wage a central part of their own campaigns. It’s true that Colorado passed a progressive minimum wage increase in 2006, but in 2016 the argument that $8.31 isn’t enough for any worker to survive on is easy to make.

On the other side, you have millions of dollars from opponents with a direct bottom-line interest in the lowest minimum wage possible, not to mention Donald Trump’s infamous view of the minimum wage: “wages are [too] high.” So yes, the fight over raising the minimum wage in Colorado will have a proxy warfare component, as the larger competing ideological poles in this year’s election duke it out for votes. If Trump gets drilled in November, Colorado’s most vulnerable working families could benefit in more ways than…well, than just Trump losing.

Get More Smarter on Monday (July 25)

Get More SmarterCompared to the Olympic Village in Rio, all of the accommodations in Philadelphia are 5-star locations. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia got underway on Monday with an unexpected jolt of controversy. As Politico reports:

Democrats on Monday struggled to contain the chaos that threatened to take hold in Philadelphia, as Debbie Wasserman Schultz bowed out of plans to gavel in the Democratic National Convention and restless Bernie Sanders’ supporters lashed out.

A day after the resignation of the embattled party chairwoman over a massive leak of emails showing disdain for Sanders’ campaign, the party could not escape the optics of a convention marred by discord, much like the Republicans’ the week before. And once again, Hillary Clinton has found herself ensnared in another email-related controversy.

Trouble started early Monday, when Wasserman Schultz’s debut at the convention proved disastrous. The Florida congresswoman as was heckled as she tried to speak before the Florida delegation breakfast, with some in the room yelling “Shame!”

By Monday afternoon, Wasserman Schultz had wisely decided to step aside as DNC Chair altogether. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the mayor of Baltimore, takes over as the gaveler-in-chief in Philadelphia.

Elsewhere, the Washington Post previews the DNC by asking (and answering) 10 important questions.

 

► Two prominent Colorado Democrats will be on the stage in Philadelphia for prominent speaking roles. House Democratic Leader Crisanta Duran, likely the next House Speaker should Democrats maintain control of the lower chamber, will tell the story of “Colorado, women, and Latinos” on Thursday evening. Governor John Hickenlooper is also scheduled to speak at the DNC later this week.

 

► There are conflicting reports about how far Gov. Hickenlooper really advanced in the Veepstakes to become Hillary Clinton’s running mate. Over the weekend, Clinton announced that she had tapped Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine for the VP role.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Tim Kaine: The Better Hickenlooper?

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

The New York Times reports on the selection of Sen. Tim Kaine as Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton’s running-mate: beating out a number of other “finalist” contenders including Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado:

Hillary Clinton named Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia to be her running mate Friday, selecting a battleground-state politician with working-class roots and a fluency in Spanish, traits that she believes can bolster her chances to defeat Donald J. Trump in November.

Mrs. Clinton’s choice, which she announced via text message to supporters, came after her advisers spent months poring over potential vice-presidential candidates who could lift the Democratic ticket in an unpredictable race against Mr. Trump…

Ultimately, Mrs. Clinton, who told PBS that she was “afflicted with the responsibility gene,” avoided taking a chance with a less experienced vice-presidential candidate and declined to push the historic nature of her candidacy by adding another woman or a minority to the ticket.

Instead, the campaign, which had become concerned about its deficit with white men, focused on Mr. Kaine and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and looked more closely at Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

Sen. Tim Kaine is in many ways a safe pick for Clinton, being a relatively moderate white male politician in a key swing state. It’s true that those descriptors could also apply to our own Gov. Hickenlooper, although we’d say excepting Hickenlooper’s soft spot on energy issues he’s probably more of a “progressive” than Kaine is. With Clinton expected to run strongly to the middle in a bid to pick up support from Republicans who cannot bring themselves to vote for Donald Trump, Kaine can be regarded as a “ticket balancer” who will make the choice of Hillary more palatable.

Bottom line: this may not be the more exciting choice for the Democratic base, but Kaine is arguably closest to what Hillary needs to close the deal: with the broadest possible range of American voters.

Hickenlooper book doesn’t convey just how good journalism has been to him

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

In his new autobiography, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper offers lots of kind thoughts about journalism, which has served him well, but he doesn’t give the Rocky Mountain News the credit it deserves for launching his political career.

If you were around in 2003, you know that an early Rocky endorsement of Hick was essential to his second-place finish in the Denver mayoral primary, setting him up to easily defeat then city auditor Don Mares in a runoff election.

I documented the editorial’s unbelievable impact a few years ago, collecting quotes from numerous campaign staff and politicos about the importance of the editorial.

Even Hick told me, “I could not have possibly won without that endorsement.” His former wife Helen Thorpe called it a “game changer.”

But Hick’s autobiography gives it short shrift. The book calls the endorsement “glowing” and, in passing, “campaign-altering.” And recounts the strategic plan to land it.

Hick also provides an excerpt of the editorial, written by Rocky editorial page editor Vincent Carroll.

But the book doesn’t adequately convey just how much legitimacy and fuel the Rocky’s endorsement gave Hickenlooper’s fledgling campaign at the time.

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Cynthia Coffman On The GOP Platform: “I Am Ashamed”

Here’s a clip we didn’t want to get lost in the noise surrounding this week’s now-concluded Republican National Convention: Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, speaking at the American Unity Fund’s “Big Tent Brunch” Wednesday:

While making an attempt to differentiate between her professional responsibilities as the state’s chief law enforcement officer and her personal views,  AG Coffman offers one of the strongest condemnations we’ve seen to date by a high-ranking Republican official of her party’s official platform as adopted this week in Cleveland. This year’s GOP platform was distantly to the right of the mainstream on a host of social wedge issues, including statements of opposition to most of the gains LGBT Americans have made in recent years.

We’ve certainly had our criticisms of Cynthia Coffman, but her sincerity in this moment is above reproach. The fact that this year’s Republican platform does represent at least a large segment of the party rank-and-file shows how great the challenge of any Republican seeking to moderate the party’s position on these issues really is. What will be left of the Republican coalition should Cynthia’s personal views on LGBT rights prevail in the future?

Because with all due respect, it’s too late for 2016.

Get More Smarter on Friday (July 22)

Get More SmarterGoodbye, Cleveland; hello, Philadelphia. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday to wrap up the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Trump delivered a very long speech that seemed intended to scare voters more than inspire them to jump onboard the Big Orange Bus, as the Washington Post explains:

The language he used was as dark and ominous as in any acceptance speech in recent memory, and what he promised to fix was a mess that he laid directly at the feet of Clinton, the former secretary of state and wife of former president Bill Clinton, as well as at the feet of President Obama.

Running through a litany of problems in the Middle East that have happened over the past seven-plus years, Trump said of his rival: “The legacy of Hillary Clinton is death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”…

…Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, had promised earlier in the week that Trump would campaign on a theme of law and order, a theme that was largely unspoken through much of the early months of Trump’s candidacy.

On Thursday, Trump embraced that message in the opening minutes of his speech, asserting that this is a “moment of crisis” for the country that threatens “our very way of life.” He painted a picture of an America out of control, with rising crime in big cities, police being shot and illegal immigrants streaming across the border.

“Beginning on January 20th of 2017, safety will be restored,” he said.

In a separate story about Trump’s acceptance speech, James Hohmann of the Washington Post summed up the remarks thusly:

Trump essentially used the most important speech of his campaign – and perhaps political career – to yell fire in a crowded theatre.

The Associated Press did some fact-checking on Trump’s acceptance speech, pointing out several problems with his statements on the economy, immigration, and — of course — Hillary Clinton.

 

► With the Republican Norovirus Convention coming to an end in Cleveland, John Frank of the Denver Post notes the continued defiance from Colorado delegates:

Colorado’s delegates remain reluctant to support Donald Trump, which is to say most of them will vote for the Republican nominee despite their bad history.

This is what it looked like Thursday night —  Donald Trump hit one of his big applause lines in his acceptance speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention and his screaming fans jumped to their feet.

The Colorado delegation, for the most part, remained in their seats. Some clapped. Others sat arms crossed.

“Look at stubborn Colorado,” a Georgia delegate and Trump campaign surrogate snorted from behind the delegation’s seats.

Chris Cillizza of “The Fix” offers up his Winners and Losers from Day Four of the RNC.

 

► It appears increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton will name Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate. From Politico:

Hillary Clinton’s veepstakes is ending the way it began: with the humble-but-sturdy Tim Kaine sitting at the top of her list.

After an extensive, months-long process during which the campaign considered a host of different options — even vetting a serious candidate from outside the political arena — the squeaky-clean Virginia senator, whose biggest liability to emerge was that he was boring, is emerging as Clinton’s top choice. Kaine has been urged along by two men familiar with the demands of the job: President Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton, those close to the process say.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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The Final Rose: “Bachelor Ben” Won’t Run in HD-4 After All

Breaking news this morning from Joe St. George at Fox 31:

Donald Trump, Ben Higgins.

Donald Trump, Ben Higgins.

Thus ends the not-quite-weeklong State House candidacy of Ben “The Bachelor” Higgins. For voters in North Denver’s HD-4, this also means that there will be only one reality TV star on the ballot in the fall.

Higgins may be withdrawing from the race in part because of a potential electioneering communications problem related to a reality TV show (“Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After”) that ABC would have been shooting during the campaign, although you would think the Republican consultants who talked Higgins into running would have figure this out beforehand. Perhaps more likely, Higgins finally realized that running as a Republican in the top-performing Democratic House District in the entire state was a fool’s errand no matter what reality television show you hail from.

Dr. Chaps Says Pence “Personally” Helped with Pray-in-Uniform Effort

Klingenschmitt on GOP vice presidential candidate Pence

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Reporters looking for local hooks to Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence may be interested in a Facebook post from former state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs), in which he wrote that Pence helped him demand that military chaplains, like Klingenschmitt, be allowed to conduct Christian services in uniform.

Klingenschmitt wrote that Pence  “personally helped me get 70 signatures on a letter to the President demanding we let military chaplains pray ‘in Jessus’ name.'”

In the Facebook post, Klingenschmitt, who goes by Dr. Chaps, claims to have met Pence “walking the halls of Congress in 2005.”

Klingenschmitt did not immediately return a call seeking details.

The pray-in-uniform campaign, which was assisted by Pence, essentially launched Klingenschmitt’s career as a Republican gadfly and social-conservative activist, anchored by his “Pray in Jesus Name” podcast.

Last year, Klingenschmitt said Pence “did the right thing” by signing an Indiana RFRA law allowing businesses to discriminate against gays. Listen to Klingenschmitt’s podcast on the topic here.

“I discern the spirit of god on Mike Pence who is standing up for righteousness,” said Klingenschmitt at 6:35.

Klingenschmitt said that the “gay left” was lying in stating that the law allows discrimination. After a national outcry, Pence revised tha law.

Klingenschmitt is widely known for his right-wing comments and actions, including his alleged exorcism on a lesbian soldier, during which he claims to have said, “You foul spirit of lesbianism, this woman has renounced you, come out of her in Jesus’ name.

Correction: Klingenschmitt is not a former lawmaker, as an earlier version of this post stated. He gave up his state house seat to run for the state senate, but he lost. His term ends in January.