House: Trump can fall short of magic number and still win

(Everybody say “Thanks, Steve!” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

houseforgopchairFormer Fox 31 Denver political reporter Eli Stokols writes that GOP operatives see mogul Donald Trump winning the GOP nomination if he gets close to the magic number of 1,237 delegates.

Colorado GOP chairman Steve House appears to agree, according to Stokols’ post yesterday:

When the convention opens in Cleveland in mid-July, roughly 200 delegates will arrive as free agents, unbound by the results of primaries or caucuses in their states. Trump’s campaign is confident they can win as many of them as they must in order to get to 1,237 on the first ballot.

“Trump has to get to 1,237, but there’s a lot of talk about, ‘What is the real number?’” said another RNC member. “Whatever half the uncommitted number is, that’s probably a reasonable number.”

“I think a lot of people think if he gets within 50 to 100 [of 1,237], he’ll be able to carry it,” said Steve House, Colorado’s GOP chairman and an unbound delegate already being courted by the Trump and Cruz campaigns.

House hasn’t said how he’d vote, but he validates the point that Trump has a serious shot a locking up the nomination during the first round of voting at the GOP national convention in Cleveland, even if he doesn’t arrive with all the delgates he needs.

This is a substantial departure from the narrative you hear most often in the news, that Trump has to have the full 1,237 going in to win on the first ballot.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 21)

Get More SmarterWe really can’t recommend eating something off the ground in the best of situations, but you should be particularly careful the day after 4/20. 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).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Republican Senate candidate Jack Graham is officially on the June 28th Primary ballot, joining GOP State Convention winner Darryl Glenn. The Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced Wednesday that Graham had enough valid petition signatures to make the ballot, but if the other petitioning candidates (Robert Blaha, Jon Keyser, and Ryan Frazier) don’t have a better “validity rate” than Graham’s campaign, we could be looking at a pretty thin group of Senate candidates after all. The Denver Post ponders the same question we brought up a few weeks ago.

 

► Would Democrat Hillary Clinton consider a woman as a running mate in a General Election? The popular parlor game, “Who Gets to be Vice-President” is picking up steam. As the Boston Globe reports:

Hillary Clinton’s short list of vice presidential options will include a woman, a top campaign official said in an interview — creating the possibility of an all-female ticket emerging from the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

Clinton wants “the best person to make the case to the American people,” her campaign chairman, John Podesta, told the Globe. “We’ll start with a broad list and then begin to narrow it. But there is no question that there will be women on that list,” he said, adding that staffers are still focused on clinching the primary.

The development immediately injects liberal darling Senator Elizabeth Warren’s name into the growing speculation about who Clinton will choose as her running mate now that she is almost certainly on track to become the nominee.

While it may be fun to speculate on a potential Clinton ticket with Sen. Elizabeth Warren as her running mate, our friends at “The Fix” think it would be a long shot.

 

► House Speaker Paul Ryan says he doesn’t have the votes to pass a budget. Great work, Congressional Republicans. Really, really, great work.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Will choice matter in Colorado U.S. Senate race?

In a radio interview yesterday, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Robert Blaha said choice is “not going to be an issue” in in Colorado’s U.S. Senate campaign because women are “really smart” and will not be concerned about Blaha’s opposition to all abortion, even for rape and incest (unless the mother’s life is in danger).

For perspective, I dredged up this video of Bennet arguing with then Weld Country District Attorney Ken Buck on the topic of abortion.

Blaha argues that he can turn the issue against Bennet by bringing up his support for partial-birth abortion, a rare late-term procedure performed only when serious medical issues warrant it.

Watch the video above, and read Blaha’s comments below, and tell me if  smart women will side with Bennet or a candidate like Blaha. Reporters should keep the comparison in their pockets for November’s campaign trail, as it makes for a good contrast.

Robert Blaha on the Dan Caplis Show – KNUS, 710am – April 20, 2016

Blaha: You know, people have got to realize that women — my women, the women I know — are really smart. And they think about far more than just the issues of abortion. That’s one issue of five or six or seven that move them. So, you know, I’m a pro-life candidate. I’m proud of that. I don’t move off of that, and I have an exception for the woman’s life. But besides staying on message, I don’t think you’ve got to back off a bit, because that issue — that singular issue — was a winner in ’10, it was a winner in ’11. It wasn’t an issue in ’12. ‘13 and ’14 and it’s not going to be an issue in ’16. It’s not a winning issue for the far left.

Caplis: Yeah, and I think if handled right, it backfires on him, because –.

Blaha: Exactly!

Caplis: and I think you are one of a number of candidates in the field who have the high intelligence and the verbal skills to, you know, just turn it on Bennet in a hurry, because he is the true extremist. And when you have the verbal skills you do, you know, you can pin him down. He supports late-term abortion through labor and delivery. And at that point he goes from looking like some kind of moderate to some kind of monster, so–.

Blaha: And, you know, I’m a — because of what I do for a living –I’m a stats guy. I am a data guy. I’m a numbers guy. You know, we can look at poll after poll, we can look at anything. When Michael Bennet and his ilk want to explain why it’s okay to kill somebody in their third term, near the end of a birth. When they can explain that to America and they can get America to embrace that, then I’ll worry about whether, you know, — whether he’s got a better position than I. Because he doesn’t. His position, actually, is the extreme position. Our position is not.

Minimum Wage: Beware Honey Badgers Bearing Gifts

Scott Gessler, a.k.a. the "Honey Badger."

Scott Gessler, a.k.a. the “Honey Badger.”

With the recent “Fight for 15” protests in Denver and other cities around the country ongoing, and a number of cities and state governments opting to raise their local minimum wage, the group Colorado Families for a Fair Wage is working to put a ballot measure on our state’s 2016 ballot to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.

But in what can best be described as a cynical bit of jujitsu, this week the Colorado Restaurant Association presented four ballot measures to the title board that appear to be intended to derail the $12 by 2020 minimum wage ballot initiative supported by workers and community groups. The key point is that although the Restaurant Association versions would increase the minimum wage, they would only increase it to $10.10 by 2019–a small relative increase to what existing Colorado law would provide for under Amendment 42, and needless to say not nearly as good a deal for minimum-wage workers.

But here’s the kicker: the Colorado Restaurant Association’s attorney on these ballot measures is none other than Scott Gessler, the Republican ex-Secretary of State and failed 2014 gubernatorial candidate our readers came to know as the “Honey Badger!”

Gessler’s Bizarro-world role as the CRA’s “working people’s champion” hasn’t been reported in any press we’ve seen, but ideologically speaking, it should tell people everything they need to know about about this smaller proposed wage increase. To us, this is proof that the campaigns across the nation and in Colorado calling for a livable wage are having an impact. If the restaurateurs are willing to concede any increase in the minimum wage, it can only be because they know an increase is likely to pass–and they want to pass as small an increase as possible, with control over the details.

Of course, it’s possible Gessler is genuinely interested in bettering the lot of Colorado’s lowest-paid workers! After all, while in office he made every reasonable effort to maximize his own income. In fact, some of his “efforts” weren’t so reasonable.

We joke, but you can bet Gessler is getting more than $10.10 an hour.

Rescheduled Pols meetup Sat 4/23 2 pm at Jezebel’s in Denver

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

So we’re trying this again. Who’s in? If a later time works better, speak up. The weather is supposed to be good. 2 pm is still in time for brunch. They also have a happy hour.

Jezebel’s is at 32nd and Tejon in Highland. Great food, great atmosphere.  I’ll be there. I think (notaskinny)cook will. Anyone else?

Jack Graham Makes Primary Ballot…Barely

Collect twice the amount needed and submit them as early as possible; that's how Jack Graham made the Senate ballot.

Collect twice the amount needed and submit them as early as possible; that’s how Jack Graham made the Senate ballot.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced today that Republican Senate candidate Jack Graham is the first of four GOP Senate candidates to make it onto the June 28th ballot. But if Graham’s low validity rate is any indication of things to come, there may be some serious sweating’ happening at the campaign headquarters of Robert Blaha, Jon Keyser, and Ryan Frazier. 

The validity rate is the percent of signatures submitted that are from actual registered Republicans in the relevant districts; Graham submitted 22,786 signatures to the SOS office on March 28, and a whopping 9,895 were deemed invalid signatures (if you’re doing the math at home, that’s a “validity rate” of about 56.6%). A total of 10,500 valid signatures are needed to qualify for the U.S. Senate ballot (1,500 from each congressional district), and there’s no way that Graham could have made the cut had his campaign not submitted twice as many signatures as needed.

We wrote a few weeks back about how the petition process could get messy for Republican Senate candidates, and Graham’s low “validity rate” does not bode well for the other three candidates — all of whom used paid signature gatherers to some extent.

From a post on April 7:

Because he was the first one through the door, Graham will be the first GOP candidate to have his petition signatures verified by the Secretary of State’s office. Once a signature is confirmed as valid, that name cannot be counted again for another candidate. Keyser’s campaign will thus need 1,500 valid signatures (per district) that have not already been submitted by Graham. Blaha will need 1,500 signatures that have not already been submitted by Graham AND Keyser. You can see how this becomes a problem for Frazier; as the last candidate to submit petitions, there are at least 4,500 registered Republican voters in each congressional district that cannot be counted toward his petition total. Frazier doesn’t just need 1,500 valid signatures from each district — he needs 1,500 different names.

For a rough analogy, consider the NFL Draft that will be held at the end of this month; if your team has the fourth selection in the draft, there are three collegiate players who will be off the board before your team gets a chance to pick a player. You cannot select a player who has already been chosen by another team, obviously, and the petition process works in a similar fashion.

 

Graham turned in a total of 22,786 signatures to the SOS on March 28, followed by Keyser, Blaha, and Frazier. Keyser’s campaign never disclosed how many total signatures his campaign submitted, which likely means it was not an impressive total. Both Blaha and Frazier claimed to have submitted more than 17,000 signatures. All three candidates are sweating bullets right now, hoping that they have a much better “validity rate” than Graham’s campaign.

Also today, the Secretary of State’s office announced that Adams County District Attorney Dave Young turned in enough valid signatures to make the June 28th Primary (Young was upset by Democrat Caryn Datz and did not make the ballot through the caucus process). Two Republicans also made the ballot today: Tom Lucero (HD-51) and Colleen Whitlow (HD-63).

Ready For Your Mandatory Transvaginal Ultrasound, Ladies?

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

A release from NARAL Pro Choice Colorado announces a press conference tomorrow on House Bill 16-1218, which they describe as a “mandatory transvaginal ultrasound” abortion restriction bill, ahead of debate in a Colorado House committee:

For the second straight year, anti-choice legislators have introduced legislation that would mandate transvaginal ultrasounds, a 24 hour waiting period, and non-medical propaganda being read to women seeking abortion care. HB 1218 is yet another “model bill” from the national anti-choice group Americans United for Life, as detailed in NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado’s report, “Against Our Will: How National Anti-Choice Groups Are Targeting the Pro-Choice Majority in Colorado.”

The bill will be heard Thursday afternoon in the House Health Committee. All the Democrats on the Committee are women.

According to Karen Middleton, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, “When Donald Trump talked about punishing women for having abortions, these are exactly the types of bills he was talking about. HB 1218’s only purpose is to shame and humiliate women in order to discourage them from seeking abortion care.”

Before the hearing, legislators and physicians will be holding a press conference to highlight how these kinds of bills both harm women’s health and contradict the will of Colorado voters. And for those unfamiliar with what the bill actually does – as sponsors have been in the past – advocates will have an actual ultrasound wand on hand to illustrate the point.

transvaginalHouse Bill 1218 is sponsored by a number of vulnerable Republican lawmakers, including Reps. Kevin Priola, Clarice Navarro, and JoAnn Windholz, as well as Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada–arguably the top Democratic target of the 2016 elections in either chamber. Their well-known personal anti-choice convictions notwithstanding, it is nonetheless a real surprise to see these politically vulnerable legislators up for election this year sponsoring such distasteful legislation as a bill to require medically unnecessary ultrasounds of women seeking an abortion.

But at least for one Colorado House committee’s worth of distaste, we’re going there.

Post reporter stands out for asking predatory lender about Colorado profits

(Credit where due – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

loanshark2A predatory-lending bill, allowing lenders to make more money on high-interest loans, passed a state senate committee yesterday, with supporters of the bill telling reporters that increased profits are necessary to keep personal-loan lenders in Colorado.

That’s the major argument for the bill. Specifically, backers told the Durango Herald that the one company offering such loans will leave Colorado if it’s not allowed to make millions more here.

The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch was the only reporter to ask Springleaf Holdings, Colorado’s only lender of personal loans (after a merger last year with its competitor), how the company was doing. I mean, that’s the key question.

Is it struggling to make ends meet, like many of the folks it lends money to are? People who pay the company 36 percent interest on a $1,000 loan as it is?

Bunch reported:

Phil Hitz, who represented Springleaf Holdings, acknowledged that the company is very profitable nationally and confirmed the 30 percent Colorado growth over the past four years.

Bunch apparently didn’t ask Hitz if Springleaf would leave Colorado if the bill didn’t pass, but all indications are that it would not.

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 20)

Get More SmarterGood news: Colorado Pols is now 93% gluten-free! 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).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Yes, we know today is 4/20. No, we’re not going to make any obvious weed jokes…well, maybe a few.

► The New York Primary is in the books, and it was a good night for Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, both of whom cruised to easy victories on Tuesday.  Next up is the “Acela Primary,” as the Washington Post reports:

Emboldened by dominant victories in New York, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump plunged swiftly Wednesday into the next batch of primaries in five states along the Northeast Corridor, where they hope to bury or break their challengers for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations.

Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island will vote next Tuesday in what many are dubbing the “Acela primary,” putting Clinton and Trump on terrain well-tailored to their campaigns.

For Clinton, it’s a chance to effectively end Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s long-shot hopes in the Democratic race. For Trump, the contests are an opportunity to further pad his delegate lead over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and send him tumbling into the final six weeks of the campaign. That crucial period will determine whether the mogul will clinch the GOP nomination outright or if the race will head to a contested convention.

 

► A bipartisan group of Colorado legislators are preparing a bill that would end the confusing precinct caucus system for selecting Presidential candidates in favor of a good old fashioned Primary election.

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Denver Post deceives subscribers with stealth fees for advertising and other inserts

The Denver Post is shortening the length of subscriptions with a deceptive tactic, allowing the newspaper to collect more money by forcing subscribers to renew earlier than they might have expected when they signed up.

The ploy is to charge subscribers $3 for four newspaper inserts delivered throughout the year, unless subscribers, many of whom are elderly and likely struggle to track life’s details, proactively opt out of receiving the newspaper inserts. Three of the supplements are advertising inserts and one is a Broncos bonus, presumably filled with pages and pages about the football team.

Unless subscribers know about the inserts and assert, at the time of their subscription renewal, that they don’t want them, then the length of their subscriptions are reduced by $12 worth of deliveries, which is a bit less than a month. That’s a lot of money for the newspaper, if you multiply it by hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

In another effort to make more money on subscriptions, The Post has stopped giving subscribers credit for vacation stops. If you halted delivery of your newspaper during your vacation in the past, you used to be able to add extra days to your subscription. Now you can’t.

This isn’t going over well with some subscribers, like my mother-in-law, who cancelled her subscription recently. She follows life’s details to a fault, so the shortened subscription didn’t escape her attention or her temper. She’s done with The Post.

When The Post called me to renew my own subscription, I confirmed all of this from the telephone saleswoman.

But I cannot provide an official comment or verification from The Post because, unfortunately, multiple calls and emails over the last few months to Circulation Director Bill Reynolds and Publisher Mac Tully were not returned. Before he left the newspaper, former Post Editor Greg Moore referred me to them.

I think the vacation-stop policy makes sense.

But charging for advertising supplements and pages full of minutia about the Broncos that should be part of your subscription anyway? That’s sleazy. And it will drive away customers.

Everybody’s Dissing Jon Keyser

Jon Keyser's "two ballots."

Jon Keyser’s “two ballots.”

It’s been an awful seven days for Republican U.S. Senate clown car passenger Jon Keyser, whose widely-rumored anointment by GOP Washington, D.C. insiders has so far completely failed to manifest in the form of support–on the ground among likely Republican primary voters or in his fundraising numbers for Q1. The latter in particular must be considered a huge blow to Keyser’s chances, since everyone was watching for a massive number to broadcast his status as the field-clearing pick.

After the GOP state assembly and Darryl Glenn’s surprise victory there, we’ve seen supporters of unexpectedly eliminated contender Sen. Tim Neville basically writing off the 2016 U.S. Senate race. At the same time, Glenn has taken aim Karl Rove-style as Keyser’s greatest supposed strength, calling Keyser out for running for office on his military decorations (and little else).

With all of this in mind, Politico’s Elena Schneider reported yesterday (behind the paywall), adding fuel to the GOP’s internal conflict:

One more wild card could come if Dudley Brown, a wired-in activist who leads the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, decides to get involved with another candidate after Neville’s demise.

“Darryl Glenn answered our survey and got 100 percent, but we also look at whether the candidate can win. Are they putting in the effort? Do they have a real campaign? We’ll see.” Brown said. “Blaha has thumbed his nose at us a couple of times. I can’t imagine Jack Graham getting anywhere near answering our survey. It’s only Glenn who could earn our support.”

Brown also didn’t rule out actively working against a few candidates – particularly Keyser.

“Keyser had one vote on guns in his Colorado House career and he voted with the Democrats,” Brown said. “We don’t allow that stuff to go without some repercussions.” [Pols emphasis]

Dudley Brown would be less fearsome to Keyser if Keyser was ahead by some metric in this race. But at this point, Keyser is deep in the pack compared to better funded and more widely grassroots-supported contenders. Whether it’s Glenn or one of the wealthy self-funding candidates who stands to benefit most from Keyser’s failure to thrive remains to be seen.

But you can’t tell us this is looking good for Jon Keyser.

ICYMI: What the Hell Are You Doing, Douglas County?

As FOX31 Denver reports:

The Douglas County School District has purchased 10 long rifles for its armed security officers.

The Bushmaster long rifles will not be housed on school grounds. They will be locked up at the district security office and bus depot along Highway 85.

“The weapons currently every day will be inside of a locked safe in a secured room inside the security department. They’ll be deployed into a locking mechanism that is inside our patrol vehicles very similar to the locking mechanisms that are inside law enforcement patrol vehicles and they will only be deployed if there is a situation where they need to be deployed,” Director of Safety and Security Rich Payne said.

The long rifles and equipment cost the district $12,300.

What? Why? This is fucking insane.