Survey of Latino Voters Finds Gardner Deeply Underwater

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R) practicing the face that Latino voters make when they hear his name.

Via the Public News Service, a new survey of Colorado Latino voters that every pollster concerned about their sampling of this critical segment of the electorate should take note of:

Latinos now make up 21 percent of Coloradans, and experts forecast this voting bloc could have a significant impact on the November midterm election. 

A survey released on Tuesday by the National Council of La Raza Action Fund and Latino Decisions finds 55 percent of Latino voters support incumbent Senator Mark Udall, and 14 percent support challenger Cory Gardner. The rest said they're undecided. 

Matthew McClellan, executive director of the NCLR Action Fund, says the Latino community appears to be reacting to several years of policy action or on some issues, lack of action. 

"The Latino community has seen a lot of inaction over the last couple years, and they're blaming the Republican party quite a bit more than the Democratic party, and I think that's probably what's hurting Gardner the most," he says.

We haven't seen hard numbers to confirm it yet, but anecdotally we do believe much more attention is being paid to Latino voters in Colorado this year than in prior elections. There is more advertising in Spanish, and more field campaign focus on turning out Latino voters on both sides. Despite well-publicized attempts earlier this year to "reach out" to Latinos by Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call and others, and even meddling in the primary process to help ensure anti-immigrant poster child Tom Tancredo did not win, there's little to suggest in these numbers that it's helped them. There's just no way you can separate the Republican Party's long hostile record with Latinos, or the anti-immigrant icons like Tancredo who are almost exclusively Republican partisans, from the GOP ticket on the ballot today. Certainly not just with idle platitudes like Cory Gardner, in stark contrast with his record.

Bottom line: yesterday, SurveyUSA released two polls in Colorado with slightly different methodology. One of those polls came up with a Latino sample of only six percent–a ridiculously small figure in a state that is 21% Latino. The other actually showed Gardner with a lead among Latino voters, an inexplicable result that threw the entire poll into question. A fascinating interview by the New York Times yesterday of SurveyUSA's Jay Leve in response to questions about their polling in Colorado reveals that pollsters just aren't any good at sampling for Latino voters–and they know it.

I get that criticism; I understand it. And the Hispanic data that you’re looking at in Colorado, that shows a Republican ahead among Hispanics, is also at odds with common sense. So I can’t defend it except that we give people the opportunity to self-identify as Hispanic, and we record it.

We have been accused in the past as having blacks who are not “black enough.” I get that criticism. Our black respondents, instead of being 90-10 Democratic, are sometimes 67-33. Do I think it turns out that way on way on Election Day? No, I think we’re too Republican on black voters, just as we are sometimes too Republican on Hispanic voters. This is not unique to SurveyUSA. [Pols emphasis]

Are there people who specialize in Latino polling who conduct elaborate studies and then in turn prove, to their satisfaction and probably mine, that the Latino population is overwhelmingly Democratic? Yes. Is there something that we can do better? I’m sure that there is. At the moment, though, it is what it is.

That's a very candid admission–and if this survey of Latino voters is right, it's a huge blind spot for anyone trying to understand what's really going to happen in Colorado on Election Day.

What is Amendment 68?

*Colorado Pols is profiling ballot measures that will appear on the 2014 Colorado statewide ballot. See also:
- What is Amendment 67 in Colorado?
- What is Amendment 68 in Colorado?
- What is Proposition 104 in Colorado?
- What is Proposition 105 in Colorado?

Amendment 68 (Colorado)
OFFICIAL TITLE: Horsetrack Limited Gaming Proceeds for K-12 Education
ALSO KNOWN AS: That Gambling/ School Funding Thing


Official Ballot Language for Amendment 68:
"Shall state taxes be increased $114,500,000 annually in the first full fiscal year, and by such amounts that are raised thereafter, by imposing a new tax on authorized horse racetracks' adjusted gross proceeds from limited gaming to increase statewide funding for K-12 education, and, in connection therewith, amending the Colorado Constitution to permit limited gaming in addition to pre-existing pari-mutuel wagering at one qualified horse racetrack in each of the counties of Arapahoe, Mesa, and Pueblo; authorizing host communities to impose impact fees on horse racetracks authorized to conduct limited gaming; allowing all resulting revenue to be collected and spent notwithstanding any limitations provided by law; and allocating the resulting tax revenues to a fund to be distributed to school districts and the charter school institute for K-12 education?"

…In Other Words:
Should we build a casino at a horse track in just one county in Colorado, and somehow use the tax revenue to give money to schools across the state? And by the way, can we also allow gambling in Mesa and Pueblo counties? It’s for the schools, or something!

Amendment 68 is difficult to fully understand, probably by design. It sounds alright at first glance – tax gambling to raise money for schools – but critics say it contains more holes than the Colorado Rockies’ lineup (for example, who pays for infrastructure and safety costs that would follow construction of a giant casino in Arapahoe County?). Similar broadly written measures have been handily defeated by Colorado voters in the past, including Amendment 33 in 2003, and opposition to Amendment 68 has come from both sides of the political aisle.

It’s important to note that Amendment 68, if passed, would override current laws that give local voters the ultimate say on whether or not to allow casinos in their communities. Some revenue would likely be generated for public and charter schools, but it is unclear how much money, or how it would be distributed.

Who Supports Amendment 68?
People who want to see more casinos and gambling in Colorado but aren’t really concerned about the rest of the details. Colorado Horse Associations (whatever that means). Also, some dude who runs a casino in Rhode Island.

Who Opposes Amendment 68?
Most 2014 candidates are opposed, as is a diverse collection of groups such as the Colorado Municipal League, the Homebuilders’ Association and the Colorado PTA. 

The Horse Race* (Will Amendment 68 Pass or Fail?)
There’s a saying about ballot measures that goes something like this: If you don’t know, vote No. Public opposition seems to be growing for Amendment 68, and we’d guess low-information voters will follow suit by voting against an unclear measure (even if it says it will provide money for education).

*No pun intended, we swear.

No on 68 campaign site

Yes on 68 campaign site

Q-Poll Tightens Governor’s Race, CNN: Gardner 50%, Udall 46%


Lots of polling out this morning on Colorado's two top races today, with more on the way–starting with Quinnipiac University's newest poll of the gubernatorial race. The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports:

A new poll from Quinnipiac University still shows Republican challenger Bob Beauprez in the lead, but Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has closed the gap among women and independent voters and his favorability ratings have improved.

The poll, released early Wednesday, reveals Colorado voters favor Beauprez over Hickenlooper 46 percent to 42 percent, a change from last month when Quinnipiac tracked a 10-point lead for the Republican.

"After seeming to waver in our last survey, women and independent voters pull Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper back from the abyss and reinvigorate a race that's very close," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.

Here is Quinnipiac's release on today's poll.

In truth, very few local observers took Quinnipiac's 10-point lead for Bob Beauprez seriously, and it's more likely their numbers are just tracking back to reality from previously outlier findings. We'll have to see tomorrow's Q-poll of the Senate race for a clearer picture of movement within their sample.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Meanwhile, CNN's new poll of the Senate race shows Republican Cory Gardner up by four points over incumbent Sen. Mark Udall:

Gardner held a 50 percent to 46 percent edge on first-term Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in the survey of 665 likely voters, conducted Oct. 9-13. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Republicans have targeted Udall and several other Democratic incumbents in their effort to win at least six seats this fall — enough to gain a Senate majority for President Barack Obama's final two years in office. Traditional Democratic advantages among women and urban voters aren't enough to overcome strong headwinds, said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"Udall is getting clobbered in the all-important suburbs, as well as in rural areas, and his lead in Colorado cities is not enough to overcome that," Holland said.

"There is a gender gap, but in this case it appears to be working in favor of the Republican. Udall has a nine-point advantage among women, but that is dwarfed by the 20-point lead Gardner has among men," he said.

The same CNN poll shows incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper with a statistically meaningless one-point lead over Beauprez, 49-48%. We haven't seen the memo yet for CNN's poll, and since this is their first survey of Colorado races there's no trajectory to observe here. That said, most recent polling has shown Gardner opening up a small lead over incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, consistent with these numbers. Historically, as readers know, polling in Colorado tends to understate Democratic turnout, and recent election reforms like mail ballots for every voter and registration all the way up to Election Day make it more or less impossible for pollsters to know if their "likely voter" samples are accurate. Smart pollsters concede, and everyone playing pundit in these races needs to be aware, that the final result could be very different from anybody's polling due to unknown, unknowable variables. After this election, we'll all know a lot more about how these reforms have changed the electorate.

With all of this in mind, Democratic field campaigns fanning out across the state of Colorado today are fully aware of the urgency of their task–and these polls explain why.

Gary Hart Slams Post’s Idiotic Gardner Endorsement

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Still having great respect for former Senator Gary Hart, and having zero respect for the Denver Post's Editorial Board (that is somehow considered "left-leaning", paging Dan Haley) and their inane endorsement of Cory Gardner over sitting Senator Udall, it was good to see the highly intelligent and respectable former senator make his views known about the Post's public puke.

The Post wouldn't print it, nor any of the other condemnations of their judgment, so I'm posting Gary Hart's response to that Post endorsement

Mr. Gregory Moore
Editor, The Denver Post 
Denver, Colorado

Dear Mr. Moore:

Your editorial board's decision to endorse Congressman Cory Gardner for the United States Senate ranks as one of the worst endorsement decisions, not only by theDenver Post but by any serious newspaper, in my lifetime.

As a Colorado citizen who pays more than ordinary attention to American politics generally and to Colorado politics particularly, I am dumbfounded and appalled by your endorsement. Colorado quite possibly has the two best Senators in the United States and you choose to dismiss one of them. It is flatly false to say that Senator Udall is not a leader or that he is not at the center of major debates. It is much more accurate to say that he is not a self-promoter, which seems to have become the coin of the political realm.

I know for an absolute fact that he is at or near the center of virtually all serious national security, energy, environment, and economic debate currently occurring. I know for a fact that he is widely respected as a serious legislator by Senators of both parties. I cannot imagine from what sources you are deriving your information, but it is clearly not other United States Senators or anyone with a clear picture of what is going on in our nation's Capitol. You have chosen to support a conventional partisan over a serious legislator concerned with the national interest.

For you to conclude that Mr. Gardner will be anything other than a consistent vote for a Tea Party dictated agenda on the major social and economic issues of the day is confounding. Simply because one source called him a "rising star" does not qualify him for Senate membership. I had the privilege of serving with serious Senators of both parties. Mr. Gardner has a very long way to go before even coming close to their standard of statesmanship. Senator Udall, from a distinguished public service family whom I have known and with whom I have served, has the gravitas concerning the future of our nation that a partisan such as Mr. Gardner will never have in his lifetime.

I will leave it to my wife to decide whether to continue her subscription to the Post. I have lost confidence in the seriousness of your editorial judgment.


Gary Hart 
Kittredge, Colorado

Hey, maybe he just didn't follow the rules for their LTE's. For shame!

Breaking Down The Vote For The Environment

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)


(From our Executive Director, Pete Maysmith) 



Why Do Politics?


Fifteen year ago Colorado Conservation Voters (CCV) started running smart, targeted electoral campaigns to elect pro-conservation candidates to Colorado’s legislature. The reason? Who we elect matters. Fast forward to present day and that fact forms the core of Conservation Colorado’s political work.


Really, it’s simple: the job of protecting our state’s clean air, water, and public lands gets a lot harder when we don’t have conservation champions voting to protect our environment under the Capitol’s gold dome.


Ask almost anyone and they’ll say that they don’t like politics and that they don’t trust politicians; given the deadlock in Washington DC, that’s an understandable position. But that’s not how we do things in Colorado’s state legislature. In just the last two years we have succeeded in passing legislation to increase Colorado’s renewable energy standard, place higher fines on oil and gas companies when they violate the law, create a paint recycling program, and promote innovative water conservation efforts. Without our state conservation champions, none of that would have been accomplished. 


That’s why we support pro-environment candidates. We endorse them and then work like crazy to make sure they win. We educate and turn out voters. When we do that, the environment wins.


Elections Come and Go


Here is what we know: Coloradans support candidates who protect our outdoor heritage and stand up for our unique quality of life. This year was have endorsed 48 candidates for the state legislature who reflect Coloradans’ environmental values.


We look for candidates who will stand up for a clean renewable energy economy, conserving our water resources, and protecting our public lands. When organizing a political program we look at the battleground races that could go either way. We look at what areas have the most at stake: mountain communities who value long traditions of hunting, fishing, hiking and camping on nearby public lands; urban areas with higher rates of childhood asthma; rafting hotspots that rely on others to use water wisely so they have flows to enhance Colorado’s tremendous outdoor recreation economy.


That’s why our radio ads, mail pieces, and digital ads are tailored to each key district — we don’t want to add to the noise, we want to cut through it by talking about what you care about.


What’s Happening Right Now?


Check out our just released 2014 Electoral memo for more details on our elections work. As you’ll see, it’s our biggest electoral campaign ever — much larger than the first one 15 years ago. We have an ambitious electoral plan to re-elect more pro-conservation state Senators while maintaining our majority in the state House. If successful, these gains could translate to significant legislative progress for conservation issues next year.


Two examples of our program are Senate District 5, where we are working to elect Kerry Donovan, and House District 59, where we are working to defend Representative Mike McLachlan. Both candidates reflect their districts. Donovan, an educator, angler, and rancher, knows that every conversation about water in Colorado has to begin with conservation. She’s also leading the charge for investing in sustainable, renewable energy. Meanwhile McLachlan has a proven record of being a conservation champ, he was a key vote on that renewable energy standard I mentioned earlier. His opponent on the other hand was named to the League of Conservation Voters’ “Dirty Dozen” list in 2012.


We are proud to be fighting for Colorado’s future. Ultimately, that’s why all of this elections work matters: pro-conservation priorities now mean our kids and Colorado’s future generations can breathe clean air, drink clean water, and enjoy the public lands that we enjoy today.


Thanks for all you do. 


Romanoff Releases Internal Poll Showing Race as Dead Heat

As we wrote in this space over the weekend, rumors that national Democrats were pulling up stakes in CD-6 and abandoning Andrew Romanoff were, well, not so accurate. Reporter Jon Murray tried to clear up some of the rumor mess in a story for the Denver Post, as did The Colorado Independent. Here's the key part of Murray's story:

Here’s more about what happened: The DCCC in May reserved $1.4 million in ad time for late October/early November. But since Colorado’s voters overwhelmingly vote by mail, and ballots go out to them next week, the DCCC also sunk $1.8 million in the past couple weeks on two ads attacking Coffman.

Now, the group is moving the original $1.4 million committed to ad reservations in the Coffman/Romanoff race to rescue Democratic incumbents elsewhere.

Today, Romanoff's campaign took the extra step of releasing internal poll numbers to Fox 31 reporter Eli Stokols. As Stokols reports, the race between Romanoff and incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is pretty much where everyone thought it was:

Democratic congressional candidate Andrew Romanoff released an internal poll Tuesday showing him trailing Congressman Mike Coffman by just a point, an effort to dispel the notion that the race is trending toward Coffman.

Coffman leads Romanoff by a margin of 44-43 percent in the survey by Chris Keating, a Colorado-based pollster who typically works for Democratic candidates and whose surveys are regarded to be fairly accurate.

In the poll, 13 percent of voters remain undecided.

As for the response from Coffman's campaign? You could probably guess they'd say this: Coffman spokesperson Tyler Sandeberg called the Romanoff poll "garbage." Of course, Coffman's campaign could just as easily have produced their own poll results showing something different, but they probably aren't seeing much difference in their own numbers. The bigger question — whether any polling numbers are relevant anymore — will continue to be discussed long after November 4th. But as far as CD-6 in concerned, we'll repeat our earlier line that this race remains a true toss-up.


Walker Stapleton is Like Santa Claus, Minus the Presents and the Beard

Perhaps this is how Walker Stapleton gets into his office.

Perhaps this is how Walker Stapleton gets into his office.

Democrat Betsy Markey is trying to unseat incumbent Republican Walker Stapleton in the race for State Treasurer, a task that is particularly difficult in a year where three marquee races (Governor, U.S. Senate, and CD-6) are gobbling up air time on every television in the state. When it is difficult to capture the public's attention in the midst of so many television ads, it becomes especially important to make sure that your ads hit home; Markey's first TV ad does that and more, with a pretty problematic charge against Stapleton.

In short, Stapleton comes off looking very much a part-time Treasurer when an open records request reveals something that looks bad no matter how you spin it. So how does Stapleton's campaign respond to charges that he is rarely in his office the building? As the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports, not very well:

“At best, it’s inexcusable. At worst, it’s a scandal,” the spot says. “According to official key card records, Stapleton only bothers showing up at his office around 10 days a month.”

Stapleton’s campaign spokesman, Michael Fortney, said when the treasurer forgets his key card, which is often, he goes through the public entrance where attendance records are not kept. [Pols emphasis]

“This is silly. Betsy knows there is more than one way to get into the Capitol. The fact is she has zero understanding of the treasurer’s office and public finance so she has to rely on this garbage,” Fortney said.

One of the most straightforward methods for examining a state employee's work habits is to take a look at how often their key card is used to access the building and, thus, gain entrance into their office. Stapleton's spokesperson would have you believe that Stapleton often forgets his key card and enters the building through a public entrance…which would be perfectly understandable if not for the fact that all building entrances have a key card scanner and a keypad. Perhaps Stapleton also sprinkles magic dust over himself and enters his office through the chimney.

Here's the ad:

The full script for the ad, titled "Missing," is available after the jump.

Missing Script:
VOICE OVER: At bestits inexcusable. 
At worstits a scandal. State Treasurer Walker Stapleton. 
Official key-card records from his Denver office confirm
Stapleton only bothers showing up at his office around ten days a month
Often, skipping the office for weeks at a time. 
Or only showing up after three P.M. 
While we pay Walker Stapleton his full-time salary. 
For a serious state treasurerwho built one of Americas Five-Hundred Fastest-Growing Companies. 
Businesswoman Betsy Markey.

Strong New Ad Highlights Udall Spy Battles

A press release from Sen. Mark Udall's campaign today announces a new, positive TV spot highlighting Udall's long fight against the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance powers over American citizens, the controversial USA PATRIOT Act, as well as abuses of power by the Central Intelligence Agency:

Udall for Colorado today released its newest TV ad, “Freedom.” The 30-second spot highlights Sen. Mark Udall’s crusade to protect Americans’ privacy rights from an over-intrusive federal government. Mark voted against the PATRIOT Act and has stood up to Presidents Bush and Obama’s use of domestic surveillance on American citizens. When the CIA was caught spying on Senate Intelligence Committee, Udall stood up to the administration and demanded its director step down. Mark has led on these issues throughout his career because he believes that at the heart of freedom is the freedom to be left alone.

We've included the campaign's supporting documentation after the jump. This is one of the strongest ads we've seen from Sen. Udall so far this year, on what is considered to be one of his best campaign issues. The message of "taking on Presidents Bush and Obama" is resonant not just with independent voters, but Democrats who are unhappy with what they regard as failed campaign promises by President Barack Obama to rein in intelligence abuses that began under President George W. Bush.

If we have any criticism, it's that this ad maybe should have been up a couple of weeks ago.

“Freedom” Script:

SEN. MARK UDALL: Mass collection of our phone and internet records started under a Republican President, continued under a Democratic one.  I won't tolerate it.  

VOICEOVER: One of the last real mavericks of the Senate. 

REPORTER: Colorado's US Senator Mark Udall calling for the resignation of the CIA Director.  

UDALL: This is an invasion of privacy. 

VOICEOVER: Taking on Presidents Bush and Obama.  The Denver Post praises Mark Udall's crusade against our own government spying on Americans.  

UDALL: I'm Mark Udall.  As Coloradans, our rights include the freedom to be left alone.  And that's why I approve this message. 


HEADLINE: “The Last Real Mavericks of the Senate” [The Week, 10/9/14

Durango Herald: “Udall Has Been Consistent In His Position On Security, But In This Case, His Stance Could Pit Him Against The Obama Administration.” In June 2013, the Durango Herald reported that “Udall has been consistent in his position on security, but in this case, his stance could pit him against the Obama administration.” [Durango Herald, 6/15/2013

Denver Post Editorial: “Udall Has Been Dogged In His Efforts To Call Attention To The” NSA And Privacy Issues. In July 2013, the Denver Post editorialized that “Colorado's Sen. Mark Udall has been dogged in his efforts to call attention to the issue. As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Udall knows things he cannot speak of publicly, but has worked the angles to highlight problems. … Slowly, a picture is coming into focus of a government that has taken liberties with our liberty under the guise of keeping the nation safe from terrorists. It is time for a conversation about whether the government's legal authority to spy on its own citizens should be ratcheted back.” [Denver Post, Editorial, 7/8/2013

New York Times Editorial: Udall Has Raised Warnings About The Overbroad Interpretation Of The Patriot Act, “Stunning Use Of The Act Shows, Once Again, Why It Needs To Be Sharply Curtailed If Not Repealed.”  In June 2013, the New York Times editorialized that “We are not questioning the legality under the Patriot Act of the court order disclosed by The Guardian. But we strongly object to using that power in this manner. It is the very sort of thing against which Mr. Obama once railed, when he said in 2007 that the Bush administration’s surveillance policy ‘puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide.’ Two Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and Senator Mark Udall of Colorado, have raised warnings about the government’s overbroad interpretation of its surveillance powers… Stunning use of the act shows, once again, why it needs to be sharply curtailed if not repealed. ” [New York Times, Editorial, 6/6/2013

HEADLINE: “Udall calls for resignation of CIA director in Senate spying scandal” [Denver Post, 7/31/2014]

Denver Post: “In A Major Shot To The Administration, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall On Thursday Demanded The Resignation Of Cia Director John Brennan In Response To A New Watchdog Report” In July 2014 the Denver Post reported that “In a major shot to the administration, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall on Thursday demanded the resignation of CIA Director John Brennan in response to a new watchdog report that concluded that CIA officers improperly accessed computer files and records used by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Udall, D-Colo., called for his dismissal after a classified briefing Thursday on the report, which was prepared by the CIA's inspector general. Afterward, he said reports that CIA officers had spied on the Senate as it looked at the agency's interrogation tactics were the latest example of the ‘tremendous failure of leadership’ at the U.S. spy agency. Udall is a member of the Intelligence Committee. ‘After being briefed on the CIA Inspector General report today, I have no choice but to call for the resignation of CIA Director John Brennan,’ Udall said in a statement. ‘The CIA unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking into Senate Intelligence Committee computers. This grave misconduct not only is illegal, but it violates the U.S. Constitution's requirement of separation of powers.’” [Denver Post, 7/31/2014]

Denver Post Editorial: Udall “Right” To Call For Brennan’s Resignation. In July 2014, the Denver Post editorialized that “Colorado's Mark Udall, a Senate Democrat and a member of the intelligence committee, was the first to call for Brennan's resignation. He also said the administration should appoint special counsel to investigate potential criminal activity. He's right on both points.” [Denver Post, Editorial, 7/31/2014]

Udall And Wyden Called “Two Notable Exception[s]” To Politically Expedient “Democratic Two-Facedness On Civil Liberties.”  In June 2013, Buzzfeed reported that “The very topic of Democratic two-facedness on civil liberties is one of the most important issues that [Glen] Greenwald has covered. Many of those Dems — including the sitting President Barack Obama, Senator Carl Levin, and Sec. State John Kerry — have now become the stewards and enhancers of programs that appear to dwarf any of the spying scandals that broke during the Bush years, the very same scandals they used as wedge issues to win elections in the Congressional elections 2006 and the presidential primary of 2007-2008. …There are two notable exception [sic] to this rule are Senator Ron Wyden, from Oregon, and Sen. Mark Udall from Colorado, who had seemed to be fighting a largely lonely, frustrating battle against Obama’s national security state. As Mark Udall told the Denver Post yesterday: ‘[I] did everything short of leaking classified information’ to stop it. … Outside of Washington, D.C., the frustration that Wyden and Udall have felt has been exponentially magnified. Transparency supporters, whistleblowers, and investigative reporters, especially those writers who have aggressively pursued the connections between the corporate defense industry and federal and local authorities involved in domestic surveillance, have been viciously attacked by the Obama administration and its allies in the FBI and DOJ.” [Buzzfeed, 6/7/2013]

Udall Called “An Absolute Bulldog” On Government Transparency When It Comes To The NSA. In June 2013, Charles P. Pierce wrote in Esquire: “Senator Mark Udall of Colorado has been an absolute bulldog on the issue of whether or not ‘Trust Us, We're The Good Guys’ is a sufficient defense of the National Security Agency's construction of an American surveillance state.” [Esquire, Charles P. Pierce column, 6/26/2013]

Udall Called “Serious-Minded Western Democrat.” In June 2013, the New York Times reported “Late Wednesday, the secret was exposed, bringing to light the scale of government collection of communication information in the name of national security that Mr. Wyden and another serious-minded Western Democrat — Mark Udall of Colorado — have been hinting at for years.” [New York Times, 6/6/2013]

Udall Called A “Powerful” Senator And “Civil Libertarian.” In June 2012, the Wired Magazine wrote “The surveillance experts at the National Security Agency won’t tell two powerful United States Senators how many Americans have had their communications picked up by the agency as part of its sweeping new counterterrorism powers. The reason: it would violate your privacy to say so. That claim comes in a short letter sent Monday to civil libertarian Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall. The two members of the Senate’s intelligence oversight committee asked the NSA a simple question last month: under the broad powers granted in 2008′s expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, how many persons inside the United States have been spied upon by the NSA?” [Wired, 6/18/2012

Wyden And Udall “Have Issued Cryptic Warnings For The Last Two Years That The Obama Administration Has Engaged In Widespread Surveillance Of Americans.”  In June 2013, Forbes reported “In fact, the Verizon order may be just a glimpse of a much larger surveillance program. It’s unclear whether other carriers, not to mention Internet giants like Google, Microsoft and Facebook, have been caught up in similar domestic surveillance, or how long that surveillance has been taking place. But as the Guardian notes, Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall have issued cryptic warnings for the last two years that the Obama administration has engaged in widespread surveillance of Americans.” [Forbes, 6/5/2013

HEADLINE: “Lawmakers confront Obama on NSA” [The Hill, 1/10/2014]

HEADLINE: “Presidential Task Force Recommends Overhaul of NSA Surveillance Tactics” [Wall Street Journal, 12/12/2013

Udall Met With Obama Over NSA: “He Said He Would Announce Reforms And Restructurings And Other Changes That He Thought Were Needed.” In January 2014, The Hill reported that “Lawmakers say momentum is growing to curb the National Security Agency’s controversial metadata program after meeting with President Obama at the White House Thursday. Obama declined to endorse any specific reforms during the private session with 16 Senate and House lawmakers but acknowledged the agency’s surveillance programs would have to undergo reform. During a 1 1/2 hourlong meeting, Democratic senators zeroed in the on the controversial program that has allowed the intelligence agency to collect data on millions of domestic phone calls. … ‘He said he would announce reforms and restructurings and other changes that he thought were needed,’ Udall said. Udall is pushing hardest for reforms to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes the NSA to collect bulk data on phone calls made within the United States.” [The Hill, 1/10/2014]

Former Sen. Hart: Udall’s Stand Against NSA “Shows Courage… It Demonstrates A Willingness To Stand Up To Authority, Including Your Own Administration Of Your Own Party, Plus The Institution Of The Senate.” In March 2015, Politico reported “Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, an Intelligence Committee member, is trying to use his outspoken critiques of NSA to appeal to western voters in his tight reelection race this November. A recent Udall campaign email to supporters included a note that he’d been pushing on the issue ‘long before it became a national debate last summer.’ ‘It’s a fight for the independents, most of whom are on any measure suspicious of intrusive government,’ said former Sen. Gary Hart, a Colorado Democrat who served on a landmark Senate panel in 1975 that investigated government intelligence abuses. Udall’s stance questioning the NSA ‘shows courage,’ Hart added. ‘It demonstrates a willingness to stand up to authority, including your own administration of your own party, plus the institution of the Senate and to take a stand very few are willing to take.’” [Politico, 3/9/2014

Hughes: Udall And Wyden “Have Been Raising Sharp Questions” About NSA Surveillance. In June 2013, the Statesman Journal’s Dick Hughes wrote an op-ed stating that Sen. Ron “Wyden serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is privy to classified briefings … but is barred from revealing what he learns. Still, he and fellow Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado have been raising sharp questions. In 2011 they said Americans would be shocked if Americans knew how widely the Obama administration was using its espionage powers under the USA PATRIOT Act.” [Statesman Journal, Dick Hughes op-ed, 6/19/2013]

Dezzutti: “Senator Mark Udall May Be The Leading Example Of Another Potential Problem For The Obama Administration.”  In June 2013, CBS4’s Dominic Dezzutti wrote an op-ed stating “The fact that Senator Mark Udall’s scathing letter accusing the NSA of lying about how well the privacy of Americans is protected is evidence that the story is not going away. Let’s be honest, as Americans, we do not have the longest attention spans. However egregious, the NSA scandal had a shot to slip to the backburner in many minds across the country. But that simply cannot happen if every day we are reminded how this one man is escaping the long arm of the law around the world. Senator Mark Udall may be the leading example of another potential problem for the Obama administration. As the search for Snowden continues and stays in the headlines, many Democratic lawmakers, especially those facing re-election next fall, are finding that the right side of this issue for voters is the wrong side of the issue for the President.” [CBS4 Denver, Dominic Dezzutti op-ed, 6/25/2013

HEADLINE: “Two Senators Release Smackdown Regarding Effectiveness Of NSA Domestic Surveillance Programs” [Business Insider, 7/4/2013]

HEADLINE: “Official spying explanations can't be trusted, Udall says” [Aspen Business Journal, 7/3/2013

Udall And Wyden Warned Against “Back-Door Search Loophole” Created By Obama Administration In 2011. In September 2013, the Washington Post reported that “The court’s expansion of authority went largely unnoticed when the opinion was released, but it formed the basis for cryptic warnings last year by a pair of Democratic senators, Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Mark Udall (Colo.), that the administration had a ‘back-door search loophole’ that enabled the NSA to scour intercepted communications for those of Americans. They introduced legislation to require a warrant, but they were barred by classification rules from disclosing the court’s authorization or whether the NSA was already conducting such searches. ‘The [surveillance] Court documents declassified recently show that in late 2011 the court authorized the NSA to conduct warrantless searches of individual Americans’ communications using an authority intended to target only foreigners,’ Wyden said in a statement to The Washington Post. ‘Our intelligence agencies need the authority to target the communications of foreigners, but for government agencies to deliberately read the e-mails or listen to the phone calls of individual Americans, the Constitution requires a warrant.’” [Washington Post, 9/7/2013]

Udall And Wyden Pushed Administration To Shut Down Internet Collection Program. In July 2013, the New York Times reported that “When the existence of a vast Internet surveillance program run by the National Security Agency was disclosed last month, Obama administration officials quickly took credit for having shuttered the effort in 2011. But two Democratic senators who have been longtime critics of the N.S.A.’s domestic surveillance operations are now challenging the administration’s version of events, and say the program was abandoned only after they repeatedly questioned its usefulness and criticized its impact on the privacy of American citizens. In a lengthy statement issued late Tuesday, Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado said the Internet surveillance was discontinued only after administration officials were unable to provide evidence to them, in closed-door hearings in 2011, that the program was useful.” [New York Times, 7/3/2013]

  •  Internet Data Collection Program Started Under Bush And Was Continued By Obama Administration. In July 2013, the New York Times reported that “In their letter on Tuesday, Mr. Wyden and Mr. Udall said that before the Internet data collection program was discontinued, American intelligence officials had repeatedly exaggerated its value in classified statements made both to Congress and to a secret court that oversees national security surveillance. The Internet surveillance program was originally part of a Bush administration program that included the warrantless wiretapping of the phone calls of Americans. But in 2004, the legality of the Internet data collection program so concerned top Justice Department officials that it led to a showdown between the department and White House officials in the hospital room of ailing Attorney General John Ashcroft. After the confrontation the program was briefly stopped, then resumed under a new legal framework. It continued into the Obama administration.” [New York Times, 7/3/2013]

Udall And Wyden Helped Stop Bulk Email Records Collection After It Was Proven Ineffective. In July 2013, Senator Wyden’s office issued a release stating: “U. S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, released the following statement regarding the recent disclosure by intelligence officials that the NSA operated a bulk email records collection program under the authority of the Patriot Act until 2011.  This program is distinct from the internet-related collection carried out under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (which involves the PRISM computer system).   ‘We are quite familiar with the bulk email records collection program that operated under the USA Patriot Act and has now been confirmed by senior intelligence officials.  We were very concerned about this program’s impact on Americans’ civil liberties and privacy rights, and we spent a significant portion of 2011 pressing intelligence officials to provide evidence of its effectiveness.  They were unable to do so, and the program was shut down that year.’” [Wyden press release, 7/2/2013] 

NSA Illegally Collected Thousands Of Americans’ Emails Before FISA Court Halted Program. In August 2013, The Guardian reported “The secretive court that oversees surveillance programs found in 2011 that the National Security Agency illegally collected tens of thousands of emails between Americans in violation of the fourth amendment to the US constitution. The foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court ruling stemmed from what intelligence officials told reporters on Wednesday was a complex technical problem, not an intentional violation of American civil liberties. In his 86-page opinion, declassified on Wednesday, Judge John Bates wrote that the government informed the court that the ‘volume and nature of the information it has been collecting is fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe’. The ruling is one of three documents released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and comes amid growing public and congressional concern over the scope of NSA surveillance programs.” [The Guardian, 8/21/2013]


HEADLINE: “Udall: Quit collecting Americans’ phone records” [Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, 7/31/2013]

HEADLINE: “Democrats demand Obama 'end the bulk collection of phone records'” [The Hill, 7/30/2013

HEADLINE “Wyden, Udall: Clapper Failed to Justify NSA Phone Data Collection” [Roll Call, 7/26/2013

HEADLINE: “NSA fact sheet pulled after being challenged by Sen. Mark Udall” [Denver Post, 6/25/2013]

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Editorial: “Udall Has Been A Fierce Critic Of The” NSA Program. In July 2013, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel editorialized that “Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., was tough. ‘These statements gave the public a false impression of how these authorities were actually being interpreted.’ Congressman Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., was harsh. ‘If the administration has a policy to lie to Congress about classified materials in unclassified hearings, then you have to ask yourself what value the hearings have and whether or not anyone else is doing it.’ Congressman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., was spot-on. ‘The national security state has grown so that any administration is now not upfront with Congress. It’s an imbalance that’s grown in our government, and one that we have to cleanse.’ Our own Sen. Mark Udall has been a fierce critic of the program, too. But will this tough talk serve any real purpose? Will these leaders aggressively work to enact bills that limit the scope of the NSA’s spy program, or will they merely introduce bills and issue press releases? Will critics of the spy program demand accountability from those in the Obama administration? Heads should roll in the administration. Sen. Udall and others should demand it.” [Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Editorial, 7/11/2013

Boulder Daily Camera Editorial: “We Agree” With Udall That “Once The American People Understand How This Law Has Been Interpreted, I Am Certain They Will Join Me In Pushing To Immediately Change It.”  In June 2013, the Boulder Daily Camera editorialized “‘The government's collection of millions of Americans' phone records is the type of surveillance I have long said would shock the public if they knew about it,’ said U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo. He added: ‘The American people need to know how the president interprets his authorities under the Patriot Act, and I expect the president to uphold his commitment to transparency in the State of the Union address and his recent national-security speech. Once the American people understand how this law has been interpreted, I am certain they will join me in pushing to immediately change it.’ We agree. Let's keep this conversation going, and demand the Obama administration to be more transparent about the Patriot Act and how it is being applied to millions of us.” [Boulder Daily Camera, Editorial, 6/7/2013

Udall Voted Against Extending The PATRIOT Act. In May 2011, Senator Udall voted  against a motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Reid, D-Nev., motion to concur in the House amendment with a Reid substitute amendment no. 347 that would extend through June 1, 2015, three provisions of the anti-terrorism law known as the Patriot Act. [CQ Floor Votes; Senate Vote #81, 5/26/11]

HEADLINE: “Patriot Act use alarms Udall: The senator votes against extending some provisions because they are ‘ripe for abuse.’” [Denver Post, 5/27/2011] 

Udall Was In Notable Minority Opposing Extension Of Patriot Act: Process Was “Rushed, And I Believe We've Done A Disservice To The American People By Not Having A Fuller And More Open Debate About These Provisions.” In May 2011, the Denver Post reported that “Colorado Sen. Mark Udall voted Thursday against extending several provisions of the Patriot Act, citing a ‘potential for abuse’ and chiding fellow Democrats for not allowing more debate. ‘The process … has been rushed, and I believe we've done a disservice to the American people by not having a fuller and more open debate about these provisions,’ Udall said on the Senate floor. The provisions approved for a four-year extension give the government power to conduct roving wiretaps and to search business records to investigate terrorism. Another allows for tracking people without known ties to terrorist groups. The extension passed by a vote of 72-23, with Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., voting in favor. Later, the House passed it 250-153. Colorado's Democratic representatives voted against the measure, as did Republican Rep. Scott Tipton. The state's other Republican House members voted for it.” [Denver Post, 5/27/2011]

Udall Called On Obama Admin To Disclose How It Interprets The Patriot Act. In May 2011, the AP reported on the Patriot Act extension “Two U.S. senators are calling on the Obama administration to disclose how it interprets the Patriot Act as an extension of the act nears a vote in Congress. Colorado Democrat Mark Udall and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden say these are dangerous times, but they believe the administration can disclose its interpretation of the law without disclosing methods.” [AP, 5/24/2011] 

Montrose Daily Press Editorial: “Liberty Is Not A Partisan Issue, And Common Sense Shouldn’t Be, Either… That Body Should Have Passed The Amendments Udall And Wyden Proposed.”  In June 2011, the Montrose Daily Press editorialized “Liberty is not a partisan issue, and common sense shouldn’t be, either. Congress should have taken the time to fully debate the act’s more problematic provisions. That body should have passed the amendments Udall and Wyden proposed. These would have required the government to show a nexus to terrorism when seeking a court order for business records; required that roving wiretaps be confined to specific targets and locations, and that Congress be notified before surveillance of suspected ‘lone wolves’ begins. (Lone wolves are non-citizen targets with no known connection to a terrorist group or foreign government.) Yet as usual, these reasonable steps fell to fear-mongering, grandstanding and presidential agenda. For now at least, We the People are in the dark about how the very law used to spy on us is applied.” [Montrose Daily Press, Editorial, 6/3/2011]

Udall Opposed Patriot Act Reauthorization. In 2005, Udall voted against legislation to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act. The bill passed 251-174. [HR 3199, Vote 627, 12/14/05]

Udall Voted Against Making PATRIOT Act Permanent. In 2005, Udall voted against legislation to make 14 of the 16 provisions of the PATRIOT Act scheduled to expire permanent and extend for 10 years the remaining two provisions — access to business and other records and roving wiretaps. The bill permanently extended provisions that expand law enforcement’s power to investigate suspected terrorists. As amended, the bill would require the Justice Department to report to Congress on the development and use of data-mining technology by federal departments and agencies. The bill passed 257-171.  [HR 3199, Vote 414, 7/21/05]

Udall Voted Against The Original PATRIOT Act. In 2001, Udall voted against the Patriot Act, which expanded law enforcement’s power to investigate suspected terrorists. Among many provisions, the bill: Allowed disclosure of wiretap information among certain government officials, authorize limited disclosure of secret grand jury information to certain government officials, and authorize the Attorney General to detain foreigners suspected of ties to terrorism; Expanded the number of crimes considered terrorist acts and increases the punishment for committing them; Allowed nationwide jurisdiction for search warrants and electronic surveillance devices, including legal expansion of those devices to e-mail and Internet; Authorized the use of roving wiretaps, in which officials get orders that allow them to tap whatever telephone a person uses instead of one telephone at a time; Relaxed rules to allow the FBI and intelligence officials to share grand jury and wiretap information more easily. The bill passed 357-66. [AP, 10/25/01; HR 3162, Vote 398, 10/24/01]


What is Amendment 67?

*Colorado Pols is profiling ballot measures that will appear on the 2014 Colorado statewide ballot. See also:
- What is Amendment 67 in Colorado?
- What is Amendment 68 in Colorado?
- What is Proposition 104 in Colorado?
- What is Proposition 105 in Colorado?

Amendment 67 (Colorado)
OFFICIAL TITLE: Definition of Person and Child
ALSO KNOWN AS: Personhood Measure


Official Ballot Language for Amendment 67:
"Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution protecting pregnant women and unborn children by defining "person" and "child" in the Colorado Criminal Code and the Colorado wrongful death act to include unborn human beings?"

…In Other Words:
Amendment 67 would re-define the definition of “life” to give a fertilized egg the same “rights” as an actual human being. The point here is to ban all abortions – including for victims of rape and incest – and to allow women to drive alone in carpool lanes (we’re kidding, but this is among many weird legal loopholes that could emerge if the Personhood measure passes).

This is the Personhood ballot measure that has received significant media coverage throughout the 2014 Election Cycle. Similar measures were on the ballot in Colorado in 2010 and 2008, losing each time by a massive margin.

Who Supports Amendment 67?
People who believe that abortion should be outlawed in all forms, without exception. People who don’t see a problem with putting “manslaughter” on par with “miscarriage” in the eyes of the law. Statistically-speaking…people you probably don’t know.

Who Opposes Amendment 67?
Put it this way: If you are not already a Personhood supporter yourself, then it’s a fair bet that everyone you know also opposes this idea. This isn’t one of those issues where someone says, “I can see the argument on both sides.” Even the most strident “pro-life” conservative politicians don’t want anything to do with Personhood.

The Horse Race (Will Amendment 67 Pass or Fail?)
It would be one of the biggest surprises of the 2014 Election Cycle if Personhood passes in Colorado—particularly given the fact that it was absolutely crushed at the ballot in both 2008 (73% opposed) and 2010 (70% opposed). Personhood wasn’t on the ballot in 2012, but it’s a safe bet that 2014 will mark its third loss in as many tries.

No on 67 campaign site

Yes on 67 campaign site

New Ad: Beauprez held accountable for ‘Mexican Time’ and other insulting comments

(Translation after the jump - Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As ballots are being mailed throughout Colorado, Making Colorado Great released a new TV ad to hold Republican candidate Bob Beauprez accountable to Hispanic voters, highlighting his past insults and comments on immigration.

“It is important for Coloradans to know about Bob Beauprez's divisive insults and radical record against the Hispanic community,” stated Michael Huttner, spokesman for Making Colorado Great.  “This ad will raise awareness of Beauprez’s anti-Hispanic remarks and anti reform agenda.”

The script for the ad is below and can be viewed here:


Republican Bob Beauprez is against the Hispanic community.


And now he wants to be our governor?


His solution to immigration reform is to kick us out of the country – he’s said – “go home.”






He’d deport our families  including our Dreamers.






He sees us criminals saying that reform would “jeopardize the security of the United States.”



Our community has had enough of Bob Beauprez’s insults.







We can’t trust him.

Paid for by Making Colorado Great, Donna Johnson, Registered Agent. Not authorized by any candidate. 



El Republicano Bob Beauprez esta en contra de la comunidad Hispana.

Y ahora quiere ser nuestro Gobernador?

Su solución a la reforma migratoria es echarnos del país.




El deportará a nuestras familias incluyendo a nuestros soñadores.




Nos ve como crimínales – dice que la reforma “pone en peligro la seguridad de los Estados Unidos”


¿Hasta cuando aguantaremos los insultos de Bob Beauprez?





No podemos confiar en él.

Pagado por Making Colorado Great, Donna Johnson, Agente Registrado. No autorizado por ningún candidato.


Image of Bob Beauprez
CG: Republicano
Bob Beauprez

Close up of Bob Beuaprez

Hispanic father holding daughter cut to
Young Hispanic male student at desk to camera

CG: Bob Beauprez:
“Go Home”
-A Line of Sight Blog, 3/15/07

Hispanic father and son cuts to Hispanic Graduates in cap and gowns
CG: Bob Beauprez:
Deportará a nuestras familias

Images of young people walking guarded by border patrol to close up shots of detained youth seated

CG: Bob Beauprez:  Pone en peligro la seguridad de los Estados Unidos.”
–A Line of Sight Blog, 7/16/07

Image of Grandmother with Grandchild
CG: Bob Beauprez: I know exactly what ‘Mexican Time’ is?
-Denver Post, 6/17/05


Image of Bob Beuprez
CG:  Bob Beauprez:

No podemos confiar en el
No esta con nosotros.

Pagado por Making Colorado Great, Donna Johnson, Agente Registrada. No autorizado por ningún candidato 

Making Colorado Great is an independent Colorado nonprofit whose mission is to hold Bob Beauprez accountable to the people of Colorado.

Bizarre Crosstabs Undermine Latest SurveyUSA Poll

Reading tea leaves.

Reading tea leaves.

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

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

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

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

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

Gardner's momentum is evident in the underlying numbers…

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

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

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

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

Big Line Updated

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

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

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

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