Revolt by journalists against Gardner continues

We're seeing a full-scale revolt by journalists against senatorial candidate Cory Gardner's obnoxious denial of the simple fact that the Life at Conception Act, which he co-sponsored  last summer, is federal personhood legislation.

The latest confrontation occurred last night during 9News' senatorial debate between Gardner and Democrat Mark Udall.

9News Anchor Kyle Clark: You continue to deny that the federal Life at Conception Act is a personhood bill, which you've sponsored, is a personhood bill to end abortion. And we're not going to debate that tonight, because it's a fact. Your cosponsors say so. Your opponents say so. And independent fact checkers say so. So let's instead talk about what this entire episode may say about your judgement, more broadly. It would seem that a more charitable interpretation would mean you have a difficult time admitting when you're wrong. And a less charitable interpretation is that  you're not telling us the truth.Which is  it?

Gardner: Again, I do not support the personhood amendment. The bill that you are referring to is simply a statement that I support life. Let me just repeat the words of Sen. Udall.

Clark: Why does no one else think that. That's what we're getting at.

Gardner: I've answered this question multiple times.

Clark: I'm aware of that.

Gardner: If you look at what The Denver Post said. The Denver Post has called Sen. Udall's campaign on these issues, because he's a social issues warrior, obnoxious, focused on one single issue. The fact is the people of Colorado deserve better. They deserve more than a single issue that Sen. Udall is attempting to give them.

Clark: Believe you me. We're going to talk about that. But what I'm asking you about here is what appears to be willing suspension of the facts. People who agree with you on the issue of life think you're wrong about how you're describing the bill. Everyone seems to have a cohesive idea about what this is with the exception of you. I'm just wondering, what should voters glean from that?

Gardner: There are people who agree with my opinion on life. There are people who don't. I support life. I voted for exceptions. The fact is, the bill that you're talking about is a simply a statement. I've answered this question multiple times, but I'll repeat the words of Sen. Udall who said, when he changed his opinion on the issue of gay marriage, that a good faith change of position should be considered a virtue not a vice. That's not my words. Those are the words from Sen. Udall.

Rittiman: And you remain on the bill, and the idea of personhood is conferring rights of normal human beings on the unborn. That's what the bill says.

Gardner: Again, I support life. And that's a statement that I support life.

Rittiman and Gardner asked their questions with disbelief in their voices and incredulous looks on their faces, like the other journalists who've pressed Gardner on this.

These growing list of stonewalled reporters includes (with links to coverage): The Grand Junction Sentinels' Charles Ashby, The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels, Bloombers' Joshua Green, MSNBC's Kasie Hunt, PBS NewsHour's Gwen Ifill, Durango Herald's Peter Marcus, 9News Brandon Rittiman (twice), Fox 31 Denver's Eli Stokols,

What offends these reporters, even though they don't say it, is being lied to, brazenly, straight-up. If you've ever fact checked a politician, you know that there's usually gray area involved, making it hard to say, "You're lying."

With Gardner, Clark said there "appears to be willing suspension of the facts." But the "appears-to-be" part is gone now. It's time for reporters to stop the courtesies and start calling it a lie. Gardner has been given every chance to explain himself in a coherent, honest manner, and he's rejected those opportunities. It's fair to say he's lying.

Clark asked what Gardner's personhood dance say about his "judgment." It was a great and reasonable question. And since Gardner didn't answer the question, some reporter should track him down and put it to him again. This is weird and it's serious.

“Fantasy” Football; Cory Gardner Even Lies About High School Sports

UPDATE #2: Deadspin's Dave McKenna follows up:

Gardner campaign spokesman Alex Siciliano sent the following, presented in its entirety, via email: "Cory Gardner played football from Junior High through Sophomore year in high school." Eli Stokols of FOX-31 in Denver is reporting the Gardner campaign told him, "Gardner played football through soph year of high school, never played varsity." Reached Wednesday night at his home, Chuck Pfalmer, longtime stats keeper for Gardner's alma mater, Yuma High School, and a primary source for the story, told me: "Cory did play football for three years" in high school, and that his records show that Gardner spent his junior year "on varsity." During a lengthy conversation about Yuma High football on Tuesday, Pfalmer repeatedly said Gardner had not played football at the school.

—–

UPDATE: The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports that the main source for Deadspin's story claims his comments have been "mischaracterized."

The main source for the story by the online site Deadspin — a former Yuma High School teacher who had Gardner as a student and kept football stats — says the report mischaracterized his comments. Gardner graduated from the Eastern Plains high school in 1993.

In fact, says Deadspin source Chuck Pfalmer, Gardner played football his freshman through junior years in high school.

"He was not a starter, but he played in those years," said Pfalmer, 77, who retired from the high school in 1997.

In response to Deadspin's story this afternoon, which spread widely via social media, Gardner's campaign released two photos of Gardner in his Yuma High School uniform. Those photos would also seem to refute the central claim of Deadspin's story. We'll update if and when Deadspin responds–there's a pretty big gap between the quote in their story and Bartels' report, and we'd like to see it fully explained.

Original post follows.

—–

Cory Gardner is even lying about playing high school football (image via Deadspin).

Cory Gardner is even lying about playing high school football (image via Deadspin).

We're wayyyy past the point of talking about politicians who stretch the truth here — this is weird. Like, borderline-psychotic weird. Cory Gardner will quite literally say anything if he thinks it will help him get elected. ANYTHING.

Check out this story from the popular sports website Deadspin about Congressman Cory Gardner apparently lying about having played football in high school. For crying out loud, is there any subject that Gardner won't try to tackle in order to make a political point?

The Washington Post ran a long story about the campaign this week. Reporter Karen Tumulty opened the piece with a riff that had Gardner talking about his days playing high school football, and how the current opposition's campaign strategy reminds him of that experience…

…Later in the Post piece, the 40-year-old Gardner circled back to schoolboy football and the single-wing metaphor to blast Udall's politics as coming from "a tired old playbook."

Alas, other than spelling and grammar, there's not a whole lot right about those grafs.

First: So, in high school, Gardner played both ways?

No way, says Chuck Pfalmer, a now-retired Yuma High School teacher: "Cory Gardner wasn't on the football team." [Pols emphasis]

Everybody around Yuma (pop. 3,524) knows everybody around Yuma. Even when Gardner was a kid, folks around town saw him as somebody who was going to run for political office someday. And for an even longer time, Pfalmer's been known as the go-to guy for football facts about Yuma High, Gardner's alma mater. He kept stats for the Yuma Indians varsity squad from 1971 to 2010, a streak of 394 consecutive games.

But Gardner, who graduated in 1993, never played in any of the Yuma games Pfalmer saw under the Friday night lights. Not at "fullback" or "middle linebacker" or anywhere else.

Cory Gardner's capacity for just straight up lying is getting downright creepy. He lies directly to multiple reporters about a Personhood bill that has his own name on it. He lies about immigration reform. He lies about birth control.

This really is an entirely new kind of character flaw being exposed. As Deadspin writes, politicians are known to lie and fib from time to time, but those lies are usually based on some nugget of truth. What Gardner is doing now is writing fictional stories about himself from Page 1. He is making up this "Cory Gardner" person as he goes along each day, adding new nonsense at every opportunity. The next thing you know, he'll be talking about the time he landed on Mars when he was an astronaut with NASA.

Cynthia Coffman plans anti-corruption unit

This is an interesting idea coming form Cynthia Coffman.  She hasn't been seen in the AG's Office in months, but she is still receiving a salary and getting benefits.  Will she investigate herself?

“Sobbing” Suppes Staffer Raises Many New Questions

Don Suppes Twitter

UPDATE: According to campaign finance records available online via the Colorado Secretary of State's office, "Anna Villoch-Jolly" was only paid twice by Suppes' campaign. A list of expenditures shows that Jolly received $410 on 6/4/14 and $208.48 on 6/27/14. Yet Suppes claims that he fired Jolly in September when he first learned about the Tweets in question. If you believe Suppes, he fired someone he wasn't paying anyway.

—–

The controversy over a Tweet sent from an account owned by SD-5 GOP candidate Don Suppes linking to a white supremacist website has made a lot of waves in one of the state's hottest legislative races, and is now the subject of mailers arriving in the district. In a story late yesterday, the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports on an alleged former campaign staffer who contacted her, hoping to jump on this proverbial grenade before it sinks Suppes' campaign:

A 47-year-old Castle Rock woman sobbed today when she outed herself as the person who posted a tweet from state Senate candidate Don Suppes’ account that linked to a neo-confederate website critical of women, blacks and others…

The inconsolable Jolly said she came forward today because a friend forwarded her a campaign mailer attacking Suppes that asked, “Did Don Suppes promote a white supremacist website?” The mailer, from a Democratic-funded group, includes a confederate flag, the tweet she wrote under the twitter handle @DonSuppes2014 and unflattering reports about Suppes from two liberal outfits, Mother Jones and ColoradoPols…

Suppes said he would have preferred Jolly stay behind the scenes because he fears she will be attacked.

“It’s done. The left is not going to change its campaign tactics,” he said. “My concern is I’m the candidate. I signed up for this. She didn’t.”

Well, actually, if she signed up to work on his campaign, and Tweeted out this link to a white supremacist website, she surely did "sign up" for whatever followed–including, as the latest version of the story is reported by Bartels, getting fired by Suppes for sending it.

The problem, and we're shocked that Bartels failed to mention any of this, is that Suppes has changed his entire story about what happened. When it was originally discovered back in September, you'll recall, Suppes tried to blame the whole thing on a Democratic "hack" attempt.

Candidate for Colorado Senate District 5 Don Suppes has suspended his Twitter account after noticing unauthorized activity. According to a press release from the Suppes campaign the Republican claims "The Democrats have utilized this opportunity to run a smear campaign"… [Pols emphasis]

Campaign Manager Matt Soper said, "The account hacking had been reported to the appropriate authorities."

A few days later, Suppes claimed he had "taken steps recommended for victims of identity theft," while introducing the possibility that the Tweet was the responsibility of "a staffer who has since been terminated." This came after we and others had found the "hacking" allegations to be pretty much laughable.

With all of that in mind, this latest attempt at cover raises many new questions. When exactly did Suppes figure out that he wasn't hacked by Democrats after all? Where is the evidence that this was ever reported to the "appropriate authorities?" Why would Suppes claim this was "Democrats running a smear campaign," and that he was monitoring his identity for theft, when the origin of this Tweet should have been clear to him from minute one? Why, after Suppes allegedly fired this staffer, didn't he admit that he was never "hacked" at all?

Obviously we're not going to get those answers from the Denver Post–so hopefully if another outlet gets a call from Suppes' bawling ex-staffer, they'll ask a few more questions.

Fact Check: Gardner opposes Dream Act and blocked immigration reform

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

Rep. Cory Gardner continues to misrepresent his record on immigration, and reporters have failed to call him out on it.

During an Oct. 6 debate, Gardner was asked if he'd vote for the DREAM Act, which would grant a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who attend college or serve in the U.S. military.

Instead of answering the question, Gardner used the dodge tactic of stating his opinion on what will happen to the DREAM Act.

"Ultimately, I think the Dream Act will be part of the solution of immigration reform," Gardner said. "It has to be. Look, I believe in immigration reform."

If Gardner had answered the question, instead of predicting the future, he'd have said that he's long opposed the Dream Act.

Gardner: "I think if you pass the DREAM Act today, you’re still not fixing the problem,’ Gardner told the Boulder Daily Camera last year. "I want to create a fair system so people who want to be here legally can be here legally.”

Last year, Gardner even opposed a proposed state law, so-called ASSET, to grant in-state tuition for young immigrants in Colorado.

Gardner: "But we can’t start putting in place in-state tuition, whether it’s other things that are being placed by the states, without actually addressing the root problem that will only continue more illegal immigration into this country," Gardner told KNUS' Steve Kelly last year." And so, that’s why we’ve got to have a policy that actually works, and I believe it starts with border security."

On this very day, as I type this blog post, Gardner's website states that the Congressman opposes "giving those people [who are here illegally] benefits that will only encourage more illegal immigration."

In a similar vein, Gardner likes to say, "I strongly support immigration reform."

But Gardner was one of 30 House Republicans who openly opposed House Speaker John Boehner's immigration principles, intended to begin the embryonic stage of the process of moving immigration legislation out of the House.

Asked directly by Fox 31 Denver's Eli Stokols if he went to House Speaker Boehner and urged him to move the bipartisan Senate immigration bill or some other bill, Gardner again did not answer the question, saying that the Senate doesn't have a "monopoly of good ideas."

If he'd answered the question, he'd have said that he joined House Republicans in blocking Boehner and thereby ending hope for immigration reform last year.

Denver Post's Joey Bunchreported last week that Gardner  has "long held he doesn't support providing amnesty to those here illegally."

Reporters need to pin Gardner down on what he supports now and what he's done about it. Otherwise, he gets to present himself as if he's for reform while he done nothing to advance reform.

Joe Neguse Sets Fundraising Record for SOS Candidates

Joe Neguse

Joe Neguse, Democrat for Secretary of State

According to a press release sent out yesterday by the campaign of Democrat Joe Neguse:

Today Joe Neguse for Secretary of State announced raising $461,380 in contributions. Neguse surpassed the total amount raised by any candidate running for Secretary of State in the history of Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

Mike Coffman previously held the record with $446,660 total raised in his 2006 run for the office. Neguse has already bougth $280,000 in TV ads. Neguse's Republican opponent, on the other hand, appears to have raised the least amount  of any candidate (Republican or Democrat) running for statewide office in Colorado.

Republican Wayne Williams has raised a total of $225,522, which isn't even half of the total raised by Neguse. We're actually kind of surprised Williams has even raised that much given his numerous problems with fundraising.

Neguse has run a very strong campaign for Secretary of State, which gives him the best odds in our view of the three Democrats running for down ballot statewide races (Attorney General, Treasurer, SOS). As we've said many times in the past, it is tough for any candidates running for these seats to really make a mark in an election year where tens of millions of dollars are being spent on three races alone (Governor, U.S. Senate, CO-6), particularly given the fact that Colorado voters tend to split their votes for these second-tier seats. But the combination of Neguse's strong campaign and Williams' general ineptitude — not to mention a poisonous four years from current SOS Scott Gessler – may just put Neguse over the top in November.

 

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.


Links
No on 68 campaign site

Yes on 68 campaign site
 

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

beauprezdemsfear

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.

Sincerely,

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. 

Pete 

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.