Search Results for: civil unions

Faced With Catholic/GOP Uprising, Dems Kill Pro-Choice Bill

Protesters against SB-175 Tuesday. Photo credit: Peter Zelasko, Catholic News Agency

Protesters against SB-175 Tuesday. Photo credit: Peter Zelasko, Catholic News Agency

The Denver Post's Kurtis Lee reports on drama yesterday in the Colorado Senate over Senate Bill 14-175, the Reproductive Health Freedom Act. After several days of intense controversy, what was once an important bill for at least some Democrats to close out this year's legislative session is now dead–and the finger-pointing is well underway:

Rather than battle Republicans over a proposal they stressed would help protect reproductive rights, Senate Democrats on Wednesday spiked the legislation — a move that drew applause from some religious groups packed into the chamber's gallery who strongly opposed it…

All Senate Republicans, alongside the Archdiocese of Denver, denounced the legislation as "overreaching" and "ambiguous," saying the measure was not needed.

"It's a solution in search of a problem," said Sen. Bernie Herpin, R-Colorado Springs. "There is no one, no evidence, that has said there's a denial of things like contraception to women in Colorado."

Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, who sponsored the measure, said he carried it because constituents expressed at town halls and forums concerns over efforts in other states to make it more difficult for women to seek guidance on abortions and receive common forms of contraception.

From Senate President Morgan Carroll's statement after Senate Bill 175 was killed:

We were optimistic that the Republicans would come on board with a proposal that would ensure all women are able to make private and personal reproductive health decisions with freedom from government interference. But we are disappointed that we were unable to get bi-partisan support to acknowledge and uphold the values of the majority of Coloradans.
With 21 days left in the legislative session and 269 bills still pending, having a GOP filibuster would bring D.C. style dysfunction to Colorado.  We have made our point and in the interest of getting the remaining work done, on education, jobs, higher education affordability and childcare, we laid the bill over. 
We will continue to fight against attacks on women and their private healthcare decisions and uphold the values of Colorado women and families.

On the other side, here's the story as told by the Catholic News Agency:

Amid growing protests led in large part by the Catholic Church, the Colorado Senate on April 16 killed a controversial bill that could have banned all pro-life laws in the state…

Originally introduced March 31, the controversial bill – S.B. 175 – only gained wide publicity last week. It sought to ban all new pro-life laws and regulations, including requirements for pre-abortion ultrasounds and restrictions on the RU-486 abortion drug.

With the bill now dead, there are reporters and Republicans who say this was a "quixotic effort"–but clearly the bill's religious opponents didn't agree while they massed crowds at the Capitol to oppose it. Proponents point to new restrictions on abortion being passed around the nation, as well as other so-called "pre-emptive" bills, like a bill signed in Oklahoma just this week that pre-emptively bans future minimum wage increases and paid sick day laws, to justify both the intent and functional precedent for the Reproductive Health Freedom Act.

It's our understanding and has been reported, though victorious Republicans deny it today, that threats were leveled by the Senate Minority to bring the entire chamber to a halt for the rest of the legislative session if Senate Bill 175 passed–which could have endangered dozens of important bills. The fact is, Democrats are on solid ground, given the polling on the abortion issue and the overwhelming defeat of abortion ban initiatives in Colorado, pushing a bill to affirmatively protect reproductive choice rights. For that reason alone, predictions that the defeat of Senate Bill 175 has major ramifications seem overblown–certainly not to the degree that Republicans harmed themselves by killing the popular civil unions bill two years ago. In the eyes of voters, questions about efficacy and timing aside, Democrats were on the right side of the issue.

If anything? If you have to take on the Catholic Church, Holy Week might not be the best timing…

Renfroe to Run in CD-4; McNulty Next to Jump In?

UPDATE #3: FOX 31's Eli Stokols:

State Rep. Tim Dore, R-Elizabeth, confirmed Monday that he was still thinking about a run; and Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, is rumored to be weighing a campaign in the Fourth C.D., which now includes a good chunk of his home turf in Douglas County, although another GOP lawmaker in the House told FOX31 Denver Monday that a McNulty run was doubtful.

And former state Rep. B.J. Nikkel, R-Loveland, is also still weighing a bid.

Nikkel, who in 2012 was the first Republican lawmaker to vote in favor of a civil unions bill, would be able to self-fund a campaign in the early stages; and, as a woman who is politically moderate, she might draw financial support from national GOP organizations and committees.


UPDATE #2: Add another potentially big Republican name to the list considering a challenge to the not-so-inevitable Ken Buck in CD-4–former state Rep. B.J. Nikkel, who served as district director under Marilyn Musgrave, is seriously considering jumping in the race according to sources.


UPDATE: Via Lynn Bartels, count Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer in:


Republican Sen. Scott Renfroe confirmed over the weekend that he is going to run for Congress in CD-4, joining Ken Buck in a field that is only likely to grow in the coming weeks.

Rumor has it that former House Speaker Frank McNulty is also preparing to enter the GOP field for the seat being vacated by Rep. Cory Gardner. We'll update more as news develops–and we've got a feeling it will.

(STILL BREAKING): How Does Cory Gardner for Senate Make Any Sense At All?

They too would like to be your Senator.

And the Republican clown car rolls on…

Okay, so let's get this straight…The Republican Party is going to defeat Sen. Mark Udall with Rep. Cory Gardner? The GOP thinks their best chance in 2014 is running an anti-incumbent message through an incumbent member of Congress — which is now the most disliked group of individuals in the history of public polling?


The current crop of Republican candidates for Senate is, in a word, terrible. All of the candidates have massive flaws, from publicly backing Personhood to supporting the government shutdown. All of the candidates are unappealing to women and Hispanic voters. All of the candidates are from outside the Denver Metro Area — which is where the most voters are concentrated…


Consider this list and where Gardner ends up: You can put a checkmark next to his name and every one of these problematic issues for Republicans in 2014:

X    Personhood supporter
X    Backed government shutdown
X    Opposes immigration reform efforts
X    Opposes in-state tuition for immigrants
X    Has favored "redefining" definition of rape
X    Wants to shut down Departments of Energy and Transportation
X    Has low statewide name ID
X    Is weak with women and Hispanic voters
 X  Opposes civil unions
 X  Talked favorably about Eastern Colorado Secession

The point here isn't to just list the problems with a Cory Gardner campaign for U.S. Senate. The point is to show that there is no major issue where Cory Gardner is any different or better for Republicans in 2014 than any of the existing GOP Senate candidates. Different body, same head (or is it the other way around?)

In fact, you could make an argument that Gardner is potentially worse than the current crop of candidates because: a) his candidacy was born in a smoke-filled backroom in Washington D.C., which nobody ever likes, b) he makes it harder to run an anti-incumbent message against Udall, and c) he's been in the news recently for high-profile Congressional junkets.

We understand that Gardner will probably be a much better fundraiser than any of the current candidates (though it would be hard to do worse when 2014 Republicans have been HISTORICALLY bad), but how is he anything more than a younger version of Ken Buck? (and we mean the 2014 version of Buck, not even the 2010 model).


Lawsuit Filed To Overturn Colorado’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban

UPDATE: The Denver Post reports:

The lawsuit filed Wednesday names Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver City Clerk Debra Johnson as defendants. Currently Colorado permits civil unions between gay couples, but the Colorado constitution bans gay marriage…

Although some states have declined to defend against similar lawsuits challenging same-sex marriage bans, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said his office's obligations are clear.

"It is the job of the Attorney General's Office to defend our state laws and we will defend against this new lawsuit as we would any other," Suthers said. "This is an important issue that ultimately the appellate courts will resolve."


Liberty and Justice, together at last.

Liberty and Justice, together at last.

As FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports, a bit of a snag this week on the way to the proverbial altar:

After a false start of sorts, a group of same-sex couples are likely to move ahead and file a lawsuit challenging Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban…

Sources told us that attorney John McHugh, who is handling the lawsuit, hadn’t conferred with the defendants, notably Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson, whose office denied a same-sex couple a marriage license last Friday, which was serving as grounds for the lawsuit.

McHugh, who has not returned a call seeking comment, wasn’t aware that Johnson, who was out of the office when a same-sex couple applied for a marriage license Friday, was herself open to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which would have rendered the lawsuit pointless.

But a joint press release a short while ago from One Colorado, ACLU of Colorado, the GLBT Community Center of Colorado, and the Colorado GLBT Bar Association announces a lawsuit now indeed underway seeking to overturn Colorado's Amendment 43–the constitutional amendment passed in 2006 banning same-sex marriage in this state. A wrinkle arose when Denver County Clerk Debra Johnson said she would issue marriage licenses anyway, but now she reportedly gets that denying the licenses (as the law presently requires) was the best way to help the cause. As you're likely aware, lawsuits in support of marriage equality are rapidly proceeding–and succeeding–in many states.

As of today, add Colorado to the list. Statements after the jump.


Live-Blogging GOP Gubernatorial Debate

*NOTE: Unless something is in quotations, everything here is paraphrased in order to post quickly.



Brophy was the clear winner here, and it wasn't close. He was much more at ease and friendly, and he spoke to specifics much better than any other candidate. Based on this debate, he's the only one of the four candidates who you could conceivably envision being Governor. Brophy also wisely worked out with House beforehand to back each other up on the question of, "If you don't win the Primary, who would you root for?"

This was an absolute disaster for Mike Kopp, who was already in trouble coming into the debate. When Tancredo and Gessler pulled out of the debates, it created a tiered dynamic in which Kopp fell into the bottom half of contenders. He could have used a strong performance here to show that he belongs among the top tier, but that slot should be filled now by Brophy.

Steve House is a middle-aged white male who has spent his career as a "businessman." He is every bit as drab and boring as that previous sentence.

Jason Clark might be insane. Seriously.

7:32: And that wraps it up.


7:25: Closing statements…

Clark: I went to West Point, so I know how to lead…blah, blah. Talking about Elon Musk wanting to build a plant to build batteries, says he would invite him to Colorado and take him skiing in Aspen.

House: I'm a business leader…snore.

Kopp: This is about the citizen's process, not about the candidates. Our state has been let down. John Hickenlooper is a nice man, but he has let us down. My philosophy is empowering people. Giving power back to people. "We're supposed to be free."

1. Build a booming economy around low taxes

2. Cut Government

3. Fight against federal government

4. Fight against Obamacare

5. Start a Unicorn farm

Brophy: I am the only candidate who has been to all 64 states. I've been fighting for energy companies my entire life (that's going in a commercial if Brophy ends up as the nominee). We're going to have a world-class education system, great economy….

Basically, if you elect any of these four men, everything will be good and nothing will be bad.


7:22: If you can't win, who would you like to see win?

Brophy: Steve House, because of business experience.

Clark: That's a rhetorical question, because I'm going to win. I don't play for second place. Clark is like a walking late-night infomercial.

Plunkett prods him to answer the question. Clark finally says, "Nobody."

House: Brophy. Sounds like House and Brophy have a nice alliance.

Kopp: "Scott."

Room is quiet, waiting to see if he'll say more. He doesn't…for a moment. Was talking about Scott Gessler. Was that a joke???


Rep. Sue Schafer Won’t Seek Fourth Term

TUESDAY UPDATE: Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post reports, and we can confirm, that America Votes state director Jessie Danielson will run for outgoing Rep. Sue Schafer's seat.


According to a press release from the Democratic House Majority Project, Rep. Sue Schafer (HD-24) will retire from politics this year rather than seek a fourth term in November.

Rep. Sue Schafer (D-Wheat Ridge)

Rep. Sue Schafer (D-Wheat Ridge)

Schafer's Wheat Ridge district has been a fairly safe Democratic seat for decades, with current state Sen. Cheri Jahn serving four terms before being term-limited in 2008, so Democrats won't have to worry too much about keeping HD-24 in the 'D' column. But like Jahn before her, Schafer was a less-than-progressive Democrat who often sided with traditionally-Republican lobbyist groups like CACI and caused the Democratic caucus plenty of headaches over the years (her otherwise inexplicable opposition to Payday Lending reform, for example, was particularly problematic).

The next Representative from HD-24 will likely be decided in a Democratic primary, so while the seat may not change Party hands, 2014 may shake loose a candidate who is more representative of the area than in years past.

Full press release after the jump.


2013′s Top Ten #10: Rep. Libby Szabo vs. Common Decency


Colorado House Speaker Mark Ferrandino took control of the state House of Representatives after the 2012 general elections, in which Republicans were resoundingly swept from their one-seat House majority. One of the biggest reasons for that multiple-seat pickup victory in 2012 was the conduct of GOP legislative leadership at the end of the 2012 session. Legislation to create civil unions for LGBT couples in Colorado stood at the brink of passage with bipartisan support, only to be killed by GOP House leadership using extraordinary legislative tactics to prevent a vote on the bill.

After retaking the House in 2012, Colorado Democrats found themselves with two years of stymied and backlogged agenda items, at the top of the list of which was civil unions. The signing into law of this year's civil unions bill was hailed not just by Ferrandino, who happens to be gay, but a host of Republican officials and activists eager to turn a new page and walk back their party's intolerant image.

As we'll discuss in other 2013 recap posts, Republicans fought back in 2013 with a fury not seen since they began reliably losing elections in Colorado in 2004. One of the major message vehicles used by the GOP was legislation known as "Jessica's Law," named after a young Florida girl murdered by a previously convicted sex offender, and mandating long sentences for sex crimes even on a first offense. Although this law is on the books in many states, Colorado already has very severe sentences for such crimes. Law enforcement and advocates such as the Colorado District Attorneys' Council and the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault opposed the bill as unnecessary. Being a political weapon first and foremost, GOP backers of a Colorado "Jessica's Law" were undeterred.

And then last February, Bill O'Reilly of the FOX News Channel took it a step further.


Tragedy and Farce: A Few Words About Waterboarding

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO).

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO).

Reuters' Patricia Zengerle reports via the Huffington Post on the latest work by Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado to expose and repudiate the practice of extreme interrogation methods used by American intelligence services, including "waterboarding."

A member of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday disclosed the existence of a secret Central Intelligence Agency document that committee members believe supports their conclusions in a study highly critical of "waterboarding" and other harsh counterterrorism practices.

Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat, demanded the document – a CIA study of the interrogation techniques – at a confirmation hearing for Caroline Krass, President Barack Obama's nominee to be the CIA's general counsel.

Udall said he would not support Krass' nomination until the previously undisclosed document was provided, raising the possibility that he might use a "hold" to stop the nomination…

During the hearing, Krass told Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the committee, that she did not believe members of the Senate panel had the right to see documents that provide the legal basis for CIA actions, such as waterboarding.

Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins said she was "troubled" by Krass' answer.

It's worth noting that the CIA general counsel nominee, Caroline Krass, reportedly did agree that the interrogation practice known as "waterboarding" amounts to torture, which would presumably mean she considers it illegal under U.S. law. If you accept that, this is a dispute about congressional oversight more than the underlying policy. Either way, Sen. Udall has consistently pushed for greater accountability on a variety of intelligence matters, including the major revelations this year of continued and even expended domestic PATRIOT Act-justified surveillance under President Barack Obama. Here then is another case of Udall's willingness to push back on his own party's administration in defense of principle.

Sen. Steve King (R).

Sen. Steve King (R).

With all of that noted for the record, we had meant to call attention earlier to another recent invocation of "waterboarding," albeit metaphorical, by a politician from Colorado–and this seems as good a place as any. As KUNC's Bente Birkeland reported late last week:

For conservatives, last session wasn’t pleasant. 2013 saw the passage of stricter gun laws, civil unions, driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, same day voter registration and renewable energy standards for electric coops.

“Last session was the absolute worst session,” said Senator Steve King (R- Grand Junction). “It was like waterboarding, it seems like every time I caught my breath we were in the middle of more torture.” [Pols emphasis]

Folks, here we have an example of one of the rarer breeds of Republican–one who admits "waterboarding" is torture. Sen. Steve King can forget all about campaign donations from Dick Cheney! Maybe King could get a little love from John McCain if that's really how he feels, except that's the kiss of death in Republican politics.

Of course, knowing Sen. King as we do, he probably didn't mean "torture," you know, in a bad way.

Conservative talk-radio host gets all excited about critique of Republican Senate candidate

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

KFKA talk-radio host Amy Oliver urged Republicans last week to read a Facebook post by former State Senator Shawn Mitchell, in which Mitchell wrote that he's "somewhere between distressed and appalled that GOP luminaries think it's a good idea for [Rep. Amy Stephens] to bear the party's standard into a campaign for federal office in 2014."

Stephens is one of six GOP candidates vying to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Udall next year.  Also running are Tea Party favorite and recycled Senate candidate Ken Buck, mustachioed state Senator Randy Baumgardner from northwestern Colorado's District 8, state Senator from El Paso County Owen Hill, as well as Jamie McMillan and Tom Janich.

Oliver, who doubles as a staffer for the libertarian Independence Institute, was really excited about Mitchell's Dec. 9 Facebook post, telling listeners that "the entry of Amy Stephens in the race, and some of the subsequent endorsements that she has received, have got conservatives saying privately what Shawn Mitchell put out publicly."


If Only “Generic Republican” Were Real

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports on undeniably tough numbers for Colorado Democrats, in a poll released yesterday from Democratic-aligned (but considered highly accurate) pollster Public Policy Polling:

Republicans hold a five-point edge over Democrats on a generic ballot heading into state legislative races next year.

According to PPP, a typically Democrat-friendly polling outfit, voters across the state would prefer a generic Republican candidate for legislative seats over a generic Democrat by a 47-42 percent margin.

With independents, the third of Colorado’s electorate that typically decides statewide races and other toss-up elections, the Republicans’ generic ballot edge is even larger, 41-30 percent…

“In just one year, Gov. John Hickenlooper and Democrats in the statehouse lost the trust of their constituents by forcing through a radical agenda that is hurting working families, job creators and senior citizens,” Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call told FOX31 Denver.

Without any doubt, these are sobering results for Democrats, whose biggest consolation is that nearly a year–and a whole legislative session–lies between these numbers and the next general election. We've been talking about the roots of this steep plunge in Democratic popularity at the state level all spring and summer. Republicans, with much help from a conflict-loving press, have done a good job spinning this years legislative session as an "overreach" by Democrats. We've always rejected this label for the 2013 session, because when you look at the actual legislation passed and signed into law, it really wasn't all that controversial. Many bills, like civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, enjoyed overwhelming support, and had been pent up for years by the GOP-controlled Colorado House. In 2012, the House GOP leadership's actions to kill civil unions despite the bill having majority support resulted in major scandal–generally believed to have improved performance for Colorado Democrats in the 2012 elections.

So, what is going on then? Why this apparent turnaround in so little time?

We find at least part of the answer in recent polling that shows the voting public in Colorado despises the concept of "gun control," the issue that dominated the headlines for most of this year's legislative session, but supports the gun safety legislation actually passed by Democrats. In this space, we have documented repeated instances of not only full-scale lying by Republicans about these bills, but those lies being uncritically reported in multiple local news outlets including the state's newspaper of record. In this case, we don't think the public is stupid: the public has been deliberately misinformed, and their seeming disconnect between perception and reality over what was actually passed this year is a direct result. The rest of the pile-on to create this sense of "overreach" consists mostly of opportunistic lobbyist-driven axe-grinding over renewable energy and consumer protection bills–also relatively uncontroversial and broadly supported. Individually, the "backlash" against legislation passed this year looks like garden-variety sour grapes. In aggregate, and will the help of accommodating local media, Republicans and their allies are enjoying success at hyping their usual grousing into something more.

Will it succeed? Will these forecasts for the "generic ballot" in 2014 translate into electoral results? As much as Ryan Call hopes so, that's far from certain. If the work of Democrats in this year's legislative session had been done next year, with only a few months to correct the record with voters before the election, this poll might well portend disaster. As it is, the nutty predictions made by Republicans on the gun bills have already been largely debunked. Republicans can't run a "generic" candidate, they have to run the people they have–warts and all. The time between now and the election, if used properly by Democrats, is enough to dispel the myths about the 2013 session. Also factoring into present weakness for Democrats is the disastrous initial launch of the Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplaces. Whatever happens between now and next November to change that story, as is slowly but surely happening, will directly affect Democratic candidates at all levels.

A lot of work (and a bit of luck) for Democrats before next November can turn this around. But they'll need both.

BREAKING: Sen. Evie Hudak To Resign

UPDATE #5: Arvada City Council member Rachel Zenzinger made her candidacy official in a Tweet late this evening.


Sen. Evie Hudak (D-Arvada).

Sen. Evie Hudak (D-Arvada).

UPDATE #4: Jefferson County Democrats are fortunate to have a very deep bench of qualified successors to Sen. Evie Hudak, and after the holiday weekend, the selection process for the next Democratic Senator representing Senate District 19 will be off and running. The three names coming up in discussion today, though there may certainly be others, are former Rep. Sara Gagliardi, Arvada City Councilwoman and former Hudak campaign manager Rachel Zenzinger, as well as incumbent Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharpe, who presently holds the partly overlapping House District 29 seat. The Colorado Statesman's Peter Marcus is already following up those possibilities:

The names that pop up are former Rep. Sara Gagliardi, who was defeated in 2010 by Republican Libby Szabo of Arvada; Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp of Arvada; and Arvada City Councilwoman Rachel Zenzinger, Hudak’s former campaign manager and a close friend.

All three women have confirmed to The Statesman that they are at least considering pursuing the opportunity.

“I’m considering; I’m thinking about it; I’m weighing my options,” said Kraft-Tharp. “I’m looking at what’s best for the district…

Gagliardi was less forthcoming, saying only that she is considering the possibility.

“I’m just now adjusting to the idea that Evie had to step down because all of us in Senate District 19 in Arvada and in Westminster were working hard to keep her in office,” said Gagliardi. “We feel that she is the best one to represent us… I’m talking to my family about my decision.”

Zenzinger, who had already been considering running for the seat when Hudak would have been term limited in 2016, said she now must consider an earlier approach.


thankseviepresserImage via Twitter

UPDATE #3: From Kerrie Dallman, President of the Colorado Education Association:

While the events leading up to her resignation were not related to public education, our members and families across Colorado know her years of support for schools and students are her crowning achievements and her lasting legacy…

CEA warmly thanks Evie for her years of steadfast support for public education and public education employees. We will miss her passion and her commitment toward making Colorado a national leader in public education and giving every child the opportunity to grow and thrive. Colorado is a better place because of Evie’s selfless service.

And from LGBT advocacy group One Colorado:

From day one, Senator Evie Hudak has been a tireless advocate for all Coloradans – including thousands of loving, committed couples across our state who now have the protections they need to take care of each other and their families. From her steadfast support of civil unions to her leadership in making our schools safer for LGBT youth, Senator Hudak has always stood up for our community as a proud champion for equality. While her incredible dedication will be missed in the Senate, today’s courageous decision ensures that her constituents won’t have to see hundreds of thousands of tax dollars wasted on an unnecessary recall election. With appreciation and enormous gratitude, we look forward to Senator Hudak’s continued work to advance fairness and equality for Colorado families in every corner of our state.

AnnMarie Jensen, a lobbyist for organizations representing domestic violence victims:

I've worked to represent domestic violence survivors and families, among the most vulnerable in our society, for years, and Evie has always been their champion. Domestic abuse victims needed someone to given them a voice and Evie was always there. This is a courageous decision by Evie, a woman who supported the DV community when they needed it most, even in the face of personal threats. Her strength will be missed and and her values will always be needed for Coloradans.

Colorado AFL-CIO President Cindy Kirby:

Senator Hudak never stopped fighting for Colorado working families and the more than 12,000 AFL-CIO household voters in her district. As my state senator, I thank her deeply for her service to our members and her constituents. Her resignation saves her constituents from the ordeal of an unnecessary, nasty recall campaign. Additionally, Evie's selfless act saves her constituents hundreds of thousands of tax dollars that would have been wasted on this recall election. This resignation is just one of many examples of Evie putting her constituent'sinterests before her own. We look forward to continuing to work with Evie in our community to improve the lives of working people. I’m deeply saddened at how these recalls have broken the democratic process.


UPDATE #2: From Karen Middleton, former legislator and executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado:

This is an incredibly courageous decision by a legislator who has always stood for mainstream Colorado values and voters when it comes to reproductive rights. Evie Hudak has been a champion for what we as Coloradans believe and fighting for Colorado women and families. Her values represent the people of her district and the people of Colorado and we need more like her, not extremists, moving Colorado forward and protecting the values we share.


UPDATE: We've just received Senator Evie Hudak's resignation letter; read it here.

By resigning, I am protecting these important new laws for the good of Colorado and ensure we can continue looking forward.



Leroy Garcia to Run for Senate District 3

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Representative Leroy Garcia, currently a representative in District 46 of Pueblo County, has announced that he will run for election to Senate District 3 in 2014. Senator Angela Giron was recalled from that office September 10, 2013, and has let her close associates know that she is not running for the SD3 seat in 2014.

Representative Garcia's voting record is mostly very progressive: for in state tuition for undocumented immigrants, for driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, for civil unions, for sales taxes and regulating the marijuana industry, and many other key bills.  There isn't much daylight between Garcia and Giron on any of the above issues. Then we get to the gun laws, and Garcia looks much closer to the current occupant of the SD3 seat, George Rivera. Rivera has vowed that repealing all of the gun legislation will be a top priority for him in 2014.

Garcia voted for background checks, (HB1229) but against the buyer having to pay for the check. (HB1228)  He also voted against limiting magazine capacity (HB1224), and against prohibiting concealed carry on campuses (HB1226). He voted yes on SB197, prohibiting domestic violence offenders from having guns, and for various other bills limiting access to firearms.


Colorado lawmaker: Democrats using ‘mind control’ to make people accept ‘homosexual marriage’

Colorado lawmaker: Democrats using ‘mind control’ to make people accept ‘homosexual marriage’ (via Raw Story )

A Republican Colorado lawmaker on Tuesday asserted that the state’s law permitting civil unions between people of the same sex was a “mind-control experiment” by Democrats to force voters “to believe in homosexual marriage.” In an interview…

Once Again, These Were Two Different Recall Elections

Recalled Colorado Senators John Morse and Angela Giron.

Recalled Colorado Senators John Morse and Angela Giron.

As the post-mortem coverage of last week's historic recall elections in Colorado continues, we're seeing a trend toward an inaccurate hindsight narrative of what happened. It's important for both sides–Democrats seeking to prevent further recurrences, and Republicans hoping to adopt their success as a model to use elsewhere–to understand what actually happened, and how the results in the two separate recall elections held last week differ widely–just not in the biggest respect, the bottom line.

A story by the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels today typifies this problem:

Opponents of an effort to recall two Democratic state senators for supporting stricter gun laws borrowed a page from an earlier playbook, arguing reproductive rights were in peril if the lawmakers were kicked out of office.

But the message — so effective in keeping Republican Ken Buck from becoming a U.S. senator in 2010 — failed to protect Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron, who were recalled by their constituents Sept. 10…

Here's the hole in Bartels' seductively lazy analysis: The Senate District 11 recall was decided by a mere 343 votes in unofficial tallies, while the margin of defeat for Sen. Angela Giron was over ten times that in an election with only about twice the number of voters as SD-11. As we've noted repeatedly in this space, the loss of mail ballots in the SD-11 recall can fully account for the margin of defeat for Senate President John Morse. Fewer vote centers and shorter hours to vote in El Paso County also factored disproportionately in this very close election.

This means any attempt to ascribe some kind of "common meaning" to these two elections, as the above story seems determined to do, is off-base. But for the logistical voting problems in SD-11, it's very likely that Sen. Morse would have prevailed in his recall. If that had happened, obviously we wouldn't be reading about how this or that tactic "failed" to save Morse, we'd be talking about how those tactics had succeeded. The truth is, 343 votes is not enough of a margin, especially given those balloting problems, to make any such judgment either way. In 2010, Sen. Michael Bennet very narrowly defeated Ken Buck in a victory heavily influenced by a collapse of support from women. Without polling to know that had happened, which we haven't had in this recall, it's impossible to know how well the ads against Bernie Herpin on the issue of reproductive choice actually worked.

Impossible to know, and irresponsible to assume.

That said, Democrats do need to acknowledge that something bad, and very different from the close race in SD-11, happened in Senate District 3. They won't find the answer in this story, in which Bartels indolently lets GOP talking head Katy Atkinson dive into free-ranging speculation about why Pueblo Democrats turned out one of their own. We seriously doubt it was the civil unions legislation passed this year as Atkinson speculates. The story we've heard, and tend to believe, is that Sen. Giron was perceived by many rank-and-file Pueblo Democrats as having neglected constituent services in the district. There is some cross-partisan appeal to the gun issue that needs to be acknowledged too, but if those we've spoken with about this are to be believed, much of the heavy margin of defeat for Giron, in a far more Democratic district, can be attributed to factors unique to Giron personally.

The proof of our theory, which we're at least honest enough to represent as a theory, will come in 2014–when GOP Sen.-elect George Rivera is defeated by a wide margin of his own. In the meantime, if Republicans want to believe that they are no longer vulnerable on the issue of reproductive choice and health, we know plenty of Democrats who'd be happy to encourage them.

“That’s how big this is”

No on the recallI'm writing today with a simple message. Everything you and I have fought for in the past decade is under attack.

Click here to fight back: the most important election you've never heard of is only three weeks away.

For years, Senate President John Morse and Senator Angela Giron have fought for our shared values. In 2013, after victory at the polls in 2012, the Colorado legislature accomplished a long list of goals we have sought for years–civil unions, tuition equity for all Colorado students, increasing renewable energy, workplace discrimination protection, creating Colorado jobs, and more: all in addition to a few common-sense gun safety bills in response to tragedy and to save lives. I don't have room to list all of the things we accomplished, but I have never been more proud of our Colorado legislature.

The extreme right is trying to reverse not just this year's victories, but a decade of progress in Colorado. Their goal is to start "a wave of fear" across the nation by underhandedly taking down two good Colorado lawmakers in wasteful, misguided recall elections. Watch this shocking video at MSNBC and see for yourself what the leaders of the recalls are trying to do.

Right now, no one in America needs your help more than Senators Morse and Giron. Click here to make a donation against these recall elections today via ActBlue.  Every dollar you give will go directly to their campaigns.

If the wasteful, partisan recalls against Senators Morse and Giron succeed, the right wing will use that to stall progress on all the issues we care about: education, healthcare, leveling the playing field for consumers and workers, equality for all Colorado families, and creating good-paying, sustainable jobs right here in Colorado.

I will not stand by and allow these progressive heroes to be removed from office simply for doing their jobs. We elect leaders to make decisions, and that's what Senators Morse and Giron do every day. They don't deserve this. Recalls are for criminals and corruption, and we have regular elections in America to decide who we think is best for the job.

We can't let the constant threat of recalls over any disagreement become the norm. Click here to donate to Senators Morse and Giron right now. Show your support for them, and for everything we have accomplished together in our fight for progressive change.

This election is not in November. It is September 10th – only three weeks away. There is no time to wait. Do not wake up the day after these elections wishing you had done more. Donate now, and understand that this is one of the most important contributions you'll ever make.