The Grand Dame of Political Gossip, Lynn Bartels, announced last week that she planned to leave her post at the Denver Post to work as Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ flack. Her announcement and pending departure leave a gaping hole in Colorado political reporting. While we haven’t always agreed with Bartels, she has more institutional knowledge than almost any reporter we know, which is probably due to her 35-year career in journalism.
But, it’s not just Bartels’ long knowledge that makes her a great reporter. As fellow journalist and former Denver Post colleague Sara Burnett noted on Bartels’ Facebook page:
“Thanks for never tolerating me being lazy, for the no-bullshit advice/direction/commands, for showing me it was possible to be both tough and fair and friendly….”
In Bartels’ honor, we have outlined below some of our favorite Bartels’ characteristics and moments. This list is not exhaustive, but simply a snapshot of who she is. Williams is fortunate to have her on board.
- Bartels told Rep. Joe Salazar to stop whining, or simply put: “Suck it up, Buttercup.”
- She gave former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall the nickname “Mark Uterus” for his constant dialogue around the female reproductive system.
- She always forced political operatives to actually read her articles. You skim, you might miss the subtle barbs.
- Despite her longevity in the ugly business of politics, she could recognize and would still defend an underdog like Cory Gardner.
- Her institutional knowledge delightfully and annoyingly (depending on which side you were on at the time) allowed her to call out hypocrisy because 10 years earlier someone from your party did the exact same thing that you critiqued. This one happened to work out in our favor – not all did.
- While we were annoyed that all the exclusives went to Bartels (see: Cory Gardner jumps into the race), we knew she’d do a decent job on the write up.
- She so blatantly crushed on even the moderately attractive state legislative members. Here’s her valentine to Leroy Garcia.
- Bartels didn’t pull punches, and we loved her confusion over the gun bill disclaimer. (We were confused, too.)
- Some of the quotes she got from electeds and former electeds were priceless, like the time Dick Lamm called the fiscal cliff deal that Mark Udall supported “Economic Cocaine”. Well, we wouldn’t know much about cocaine, Gov., but we’ll trust your judgment.
We will miss Lynn Bartels and her hall monitoring ways. Not only was she a fair reporter, but there’s nobody we’d rather debate than her. Best of luck to the Secretary of State. Oh, and Lynn Bartels.