TEAM OF MASCOTS: Vanity Fair Paddles “Former DNR Chief” Ken Salazar

The July edition of Vanity Fair has a not-so-flattering portrayal of President Obama's Cabinet under an even less flattering headline (Team of Mascots, a belittling play on Doris Kearns Goodwin's Lincoln bio "Team of Rivals"). In it, VF mocks BO's lame a_s cabinet, describing them as the weak suck posers that they are generally known to be.  

Vanity gives some slack to Hillary and Geithner and Panetta too – they are the exception, the fake news magazine reports. But Vanity's profile treated our own Ken Salazar much less generously.

As executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources in the cabinet of Governor Roy Romer, 20 years ago, Ken Salazar played a key political advisory role; he plays no comparable role as interior secretary today.

Note they don't even acknowledge his time in the U.S. Senate. Ouch Senator Ten Gallon. Ouch.  

Boy, how the mighty have fallen. Ken Salazar, once the big gun of Colorado pols (get it?) has been relegated to an Inside the Beltway Uga, Ralphie, or Cam the Ram.  

Don't worry Rocky. Ken may soon be out of a job, but yours is safe. The only acrobatics that former Colorado DNR Chief Ken Salazar is capable of, after all, is that of the verbal variety (See BP press conferences for details).  


TAX HIKES YIKES: Isn’t This a Health Care Law?

Below is a chart on the sneaky tax hikes woven into Obamacare that will crush American middle class families and small businesses. The information was compiled by Americans for Tax Reform, which promises to provide a full analysis of the tax implications today. With Obamacare promising half a trillion dollars in tax hikes over the next ten years, you'd better hold on to your wallets! Click on the chart below for a larger version. 



OBAMACARE LIVES, ABOUND DIES: Obama Social Engineering Goes 1 For 2 On The Day

On the day that Obamacare was upheld by the Supreme Court, Colorado's Abound Solar announced it is closing and filing for bankruptcy after receiving a $400 million taxpayer-backed loan from Obama's Energy Department. While the High Court may have allowed one form of social engineering to continue, the free market decisively declared the green energy scam dead-in-the-water.

News of Abound's permanent demise comes after the solar panel company laid off 70% of its staff, or 280 workers, back in February. The company insisted at the time that it had no plans to shut down.   

Sure is a sweet and sour day for Pat Stryker.

Stryker, the Ft. Collins billionaire who earned her money the old-fashioned way — she inherited it — invested heavily in Abound and may have had a role in helping Abound get the Obama administration loan as well.

The Sunlight Foundation reported that Stryker's name appeared in White House visitor logs in October 2009, though Stryker has refused to speak publically about what she discussed with the White House. In July 2010, Obama personally announced the $400 million loan to Abound Solar. 

Stryker has been a big backer of Obama — raising $87,500 for his inauguration alone — and served as the personal sugar momma for Colorado Democrats for years, donating millions for attack ads and liberal front groups. 

While Obama's social engineering went 1 for 2 today, Stryker's investment strategy may ultimately go 0 for 2. Her solar company investment just went belly up, and with Obama now having to defend Obamacare as the single largest tax increase on the middle class in history, her investment in Obama is looking equally as shaky. 

Give it to the Obama administration, though. They suck at governing, but they are as good as it gets at spinning, hiding and covering the massive failures that define their administration. Dumping this bit of really bad news today is one more example.


DEAN OF THE DELEGATION: DeGette has a title fetish

The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels and Curtis Hubbard spent the weekend poking fun at Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) for anointing herself the “Dean of the Delegation”. We’ll admit, we laughed. 

But, Hubbard forgot one of DeGette's most memorable self-anointments when she called herself "Dean of the Delegation" – during the Colorado Remembers 9/11 10th anniversary commemoration at City Park last September. What an awesome time to be feathering one’s nest – at a commemoration of the death of nearly 3,000 innocent people at the hands of terrorists. 

But, “Dean” isn’t the only meaningless moniker that DeGette has adopted. As it turns out, her “Chief Deputy Minority Whip” title that she throws around is also not as prestigious as it sounds. Wikipedia explains that the "Chief Deputy Whip" in the Republican hierarchy is the highest appointed position, but that Democrats rank things differently. 

DeGette is just one of ten chief deputy whips in the Democratic organization, which includes none other than Colorado’s recent visitor, Rep.Maxine Waters (D-CA), as well as Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who, rumor has it, is on her way out as chairman of the DNC.  All of these committee members are overseen by a Senior Chief Deputy Whip Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).  So, DeGette’s not the assistant to the Whip as her title would convey, but the assistant to the assistant to the Whip. That’s three degrees of separation to the Minority Whip, Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

Leave it to Democrats to insert bureaucratic bloat into their own organization.  As many times as she’s been on the wrong side of internal party battles, we'd bet she’s closer in degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon than to a Democratic House leadership position.


CHICKEN OR EGG: Eight Charts Comparing Primary Fundraising to Votes

Everyone always complains about money in politics, but how much influence does it have?  Is fundraising indicative of the popularity of the candidate or does it really make or break elections?  Below are eight charts looking at the relationship between fundraising and votes last night.  You be the judge.  Note: the names in italics are the last night's winners.

Congressional District 2: Kevin Lundberg vs. Eric Weissmann

Weissmann found that name recognition accounts for a lot – about $130,000 worth.  Weissmann raised nearly $200,000 to Lundberg's nearly $70,000 – and still came up a penny short.  Both sides campaigned hard, and it showed – relatively-unknown candidate Eric Weissman lost last night by just about 2,500 votes. 

CD5: Rep. Doug Lamborn vs. Robert Blaha

Like CD2, Robert Blaha found that name recognition counts for a lot.  Blaha loaned his campaign $722,000 and doubled Lamborn's haul, but still found himself shut out of the race by about 15,000 votes.

CU Regent: Dr. Brian Davidson vs. Matt Arnold

Davidson raised three times as much as Arnold did, and garnered about 50% more votes than Arnold.

HD19: Rep. Marsha Looper vs. Majority Leader Amy Stephens

This tough race pitted two of the Republican Party's gutsiest gals against one another (Thanks, Super Mario).  Stephens bested Looper on both fundraising and votes – even with Looper's $40,000+ in self funding.

SD8: Randy Baumgardner vs. Jean White

White raised twice as much as Baumgardner, but came up about 2,000 votes short.  Neither her "truth" nor her money could push her to the next round.

SD10: Rep. Larry Liston vs. Owen Hill

Despite the pile of cash Liston raised, he was bested by Owen Hill.  Hill super-fan Sen. Greg Brophy tweeted out glowing reviews last night, calling the winner "the future of El Paso Co GOP and CO GOP". 

SD23: Glenn Vaad vs. Vicki Marble

Newcomer Vicki Marble knocked Vaad out of the running by 1,500 votes last night, even after outraising her by $10,000.

HD41: Jovan Melton vs. Terry Todd

Looks like Wisconsinites aren't the only folks tired of Democrats' special interest money – some Dems appear to be done with it as well.  Melton was endorsed by former Senator Ken Gordon's CleanSlateNow group, which offers candidates who don't take special interest money a hand.  Both Democratic insiders Joe Miklosi and Sal Pace endorsed Todd – looks like their judgment was off. Again.


JD18: George Brauchler vs. Leslie Hansen

These two candidates proved they’re up for the job with this tough race. Congratulations to George Brauchler for earning those extra 1,500 votes.&nbsp





Heroes and Villains

$300,050 to $65,975.

That's Colorado broadcast TV spending by the Obama SuperPAC Priorities USA Action and by the SuperPAC supporting Romney (my calculation from Westword's report for the period 4/30 to 6/25). That's five to one odds that may explain why Obama isn't sinking in Colorado polls. The key claim? Obama's backers attack Romney as a successful businessman, showing Obama's “first instinct is to see free enterprise as the villain and government as the hero.”

The senior strategist for the Obama-backing SuperPAC told Westword: “Romney and his firm made over $100 million from a company that went bankrupt and fired 275 Colorado workers.”

Will the attack work?

Polling showed attitudes tied nationally (21%-21%) on Romney's Bain Capital work in restructuring companies, but a majority said it won't be a “major factor” in their decision. The latest Purple Poll in Colorado showed a statistical tie (43%-44%) on private equity helping the economy or hurting workers. Looks like even people who are negative on private equity companies don't use this issue to decide who to support.

Let's test Obama's hero/villain mindset and look at two Colorado companies that Obama brought to prominence.

Obama-backed Abound Solar lost 280 workers this year while a Colorado Springs manufacturer owned by a Bain Capital subsidiary lost 275 workers twelve years ago.

Abound dumped Longmont workers this February according to reporter Todd Kindelspire. Abound had a $400 Million Obama loan when the Longmont jobs vanished. (Colorado Peak Politics reported more details … including Abound's ties to a noted Obama donor.) Last month Abound declined to appear before a Congressional committee “to avoid jeopardizing” negotiations and meetings with investors. At the very least Obama's scheme to use government money to pick winners and losers turned even the winners into losers.

Compare that story to the 275 lost jobs Priorities wails about. Details show Bain Capital is better for Colorado workers than Obama bucks spent on Abound Solar.

The Springs company that closed, NTI, was bought by a different company, DDI or Dynamic Details, Inc that Bain Capital and a partner had just purchased. New corporate cash kept jobs in Colorado Springs for two years before the tech bust made the plant unprofitable. While Priorities' mouthpiece doesn't admit it, some Springs workers got DDI job offers in Dallas. The shut-down occurred when Romney ran the Winter Olympics. So Romney had no part in the Colorado decision. The DDI bankruptcy didn't happen until 2003 – three years after the Springs plant was shuttered.

Today, including Colorado jobs, DDI has 1,200 workers. Abound's website reports: “There are currently a total of 0 open job(s).” GE, without Obama subsidies, is a strong competitor to wounded Abound. Not a bright picture for Abound.

Connecting Romney to DDI's efforts twelve years ago is like blaming Michelle Obama for the horrid Spanish economy because she vacationed there in 2010 at a taxpayer cost of $467,585.15 And Obama's backers look silly attacking Romney's business record given Obama's repeated failures as a venture capitalist gambling with and losing taxpayer dollars.


LARIMER COUNTY GOP: A Primary Force To Be Reckoned With

One of the major lessons of last night's primary was the enduring strength of the Larimer County GOP, or rather the enduring strength of Larimer conservatives to swing primary elections. Just as Ken Buck's massive Larimer margin of victory (63%-36%) helped power him past Jane Norton, Senator Kevin Lundberg racked up similar margins in Larimer (68%-31%) that helped him defeat Eric Weissmann.

For future candidates it offers a lesson worth learning — ignore Larimer conservatives at your peril.

Despite Weissmann winning everywhere in CD2 except Larimer, and Norton racking up large margins of victory in most major conservative counties like El Paso and Douglas, it was the home county of CSU that made all the difference. Larimer Republican primary voters aren't mild in their support of whom they deem to be the most conservative candidate — they throw their full collective weight behind them. 

Mitt Romney is also no stranger to the impact Larimer Republicans can have. He lost the state precinct caucuses in February to Rick Santorum by 3,602 votes – and lost Larimer County to Santorum by 3,499 votes

In a county the size of Larimer it's the raw vote margin that candidates rack up that can carry them to victory, virtually winning the race on their Larimer finish alone. 

Candidates take note, you can't win without Larimer conservatives. 


EL PASO PRIMARY: The Fierce And The Conservative Prevail

Conservative voters in El Paso County and surrounding counties provided a mixed verdict to the state's Republican power structure in tonight's GOP primary, re-electing an incumbent Congressman and the State House's Majority Leader, even as they chose a fresh faced, conservative young gun over a long-time party stalwart and four-term State Representative in a closely watched Senate contest.  

Apparently not interested in the tea party vs. establishment label war popularized in the drive-by media and among some activists, Republican primary voters simultaneously voted for Tea Party Congressman Doug Lamborn, the establishment State House Majority Leader Amy Stephens and conservative rock star Owen Hill.  

Lynn Bartels commented that it was the most conservative candidate who won:

While generally true, it’s an oversimplification. Most people would call Marsha Looper more conservative than Amy Stephens, but it was Stephens’ fiercer campaign that prevailed.

The closest watched race tonight was in CD 5 between incumbent Congressman Doug Lamborn and local businessman Robert Blaha. It got national attention, topping The Washington Post's five things to watch, but ultimately got called early for Lamborn.

Lamborn was taken to the limit by Blaha's aggressive campaign — casting Lamborn as too small to fix the nation's challengers and slamming his inability to get legislation passed in Congress — but that still wasn't enough to knock off the incumbent. Lamborn, never one to wilt from a fight, waged a vicious assault on Blaha's business credentials, hammering him in the closing weeks of the campaign for everything from paperwork violations to tax liens on old businesses. In the end, Lamborn's tough campaign tactics, and his popularized credential as the most conservative Republican in the US House, carried Lamborn to a larger than expected victory.

It will probably be a long time before anyone makes a serious run at Lamborn in a primary again. 

Majority Leader Amy Stephens also seized her race with a larger margin than many were expecting, overcoming big name and big gun opposition from many leaders in the conservative grassroots. Despite the attacks on her co-sponsorship of the healthcare exchange bill SB200 — dubbed “Amycare” — Stephens fought back equally as vociferously, slamming Looper for seemingly shifting positions on issues from immigration to civil unions. Looper waged a tough campaign too, and because of her hard hits and long record as a scrappy campaigner, many observers expected Looper to prevail.

But SB200 wasn’t the silver bullet Looper was hoping for, as it was the civil unions bill — and Stephens’ role in killing it — that commandeered the spotlight towards the election. Looper no doubt has a bright tomorrow in the GOP, but this primary day belonged to Amy Stephens. Amy Stephens star now burns very, very bright. Nothing proves a leader’s mettle like trial by fire. Amy Stephens not only survived in this fight of her political life, she thrived in it.

The same is true of Owen Hill, who trounced longtime Rep Larry Liston by a margin of over 20 points.  

Hill seemed to have the advantage from the start, leveraging his goodwill from challenging Democrat Senate Majority Leader John Morse in 2010 and the following he built among grassroots conservatives. Despite Grover Norquist’s stellar record in Washington, DC, his endorsement of Liston early on seemed to matter diddly squat come voting time.  

That’s not to say an establishment air around Liston was what did him in — it was Liston’s voting record, as told by Owen Hill and his supporters. While Hill was taking incoming fire about whether he slept on his father-in-law’s couch or not, Liston was being slammed as a liberal. In a race to the right, which is what primaries essentially are, conservative philosophy matters more than sleeping locations (unless they’re next to a dead girl or a live boy, of course).

The Republican power structure in the state’s largest Republican county was handed a mixed bag of reviews by the rank and file tonight, but there was one common theme — to win a GOP primary, be conservative or be fierce — be anything but a moderate squish.  


LIVE ELECTION RESULTS: Results For The Top Contested Primaries


CU Regent — Matt Arnold (38.7%) vs. Dr. Brian Davidson (61.2%) (99% reporting)


CD2 — Sen. Kevin Lundberg (53.3%) vs. Eric Weissmann (46.6%) (100% reporting)

CD5 — Congressman Doug Lamborn (61.7%) vs. Robert Blaha (38.3%) (100% reporting)


HD19 — Rep. Looper (40.3%) vs. Majority Leader Amy Stephens (59.6%) (100% reporting)

SD 8 — Sen. Jean White (41.7%) vs. Rep. Randy Baumgardner (58.2%) (100% reporting)

SD 10 — Rep. Larry Liston (38.9%) vs. Owen Hill (61%) (100% reporting)

SD23 — Rep. Glen Vaad (41.9%) vs. Vicki Marble (58%) (100% reporting)

HD41 — Jovan Melton (50.4%) vs. Terry Todd (49.5%) (100% reporting) (RECOUNT?)


JD18 — George Brauchler (51.3%) vs. Leslie Hansen (48.6%) (?% reporting)


VISUALIZED: 6 Charts Comparing 2012 Primary Turnout To 2004-2010

Turnout in this year's primary has been pretty low, which was expected for an election with no marquee statewide races that is being held on the third Tuesday in November. Compared to 2010's historically high turnout, 2012 is lackluster, though not as low as you might expect when compared to previous years.

Below are six charts that compare turnout from 2004-2012:

There are a few things worth noting:

  • The primary was moved from August to June 26 this year.
  • 2012 is the first time in over a decade there is no US Senate or Gubernatorial primary.
  • Congressional Districts in 2012 are new after redistricting, making the percent of turnout a better figure for comparison.

Statewide Turnout (Raw Vote Total Of Voters Affiliated With A Political Party)

Statewide Turnout (Percent of Registered Voters Affiliated With A Political Party)


CD2 Turnout (Raw Republican Vote Totals)

CD2 Turnout (Percent of Registered Republicans)


CD5 Turnout (Raw Republican Vote Totals)

CD5 Turnout (Percent of Registered Republicans)

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