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)

 

HOW IS COLORADO VOTING? A County-by-County Breakdown of 2012 Primary Voting Methods

Almost every major county is holding an all-mail primary election today. In all-mail primaries, both active and inactive voters are mailed a ballot.

Check out this chart to see how each county is holding their elections:

Map Courtesy of Secretary of State's website.


 

THEN AND NOW: Democrats Scale Back NC Convention Due to Fundraising Gap

What a difference four years of poor leadership makes. Bloomberg reports today that the Democratic National Committee has canceled its kick-off event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and shortened the convention from four days to just three due to an amazing $26.6 million fundraising shortfall.  

This is a far cry from the $61 million the 2008 host committee, which included recent Coffman defector Steve Farber, was able to raise. According to a 2008 article from the Denver Business Journal, the $61 million was far above the host committee’s original agreement to raise $40 million.

The Denver Business Journal article cited an Federal Election Commission report that showed the committee paid $14.1 million for construction costs, including stage and lighting, at the Pepsi Center and $5.3 million at Invesco Field. The Obama campaign came under fire for its over-the-top convention set, which included “…spectacular columns, concert lighting, JumboTrons and rising royal blue circular stairs”, dubbed Barackopolis for its soaring Greek columns.    

CNN’s Candy Crowley defended the gaudy display, writing, “Obama wanted the night to have an Everyman feel.”  

Well, Ms. Crowley, it looks like Obama finally got his wish for an Everyman feel. With a shortage of cash for the Democratic Convention, now he knows how we all feel in Obama’s economy.

(Photo Credit: CNN)

 

WITHDRAWN: Colorado Bankers Breathe a Sigh of Relief

Last week was a good week for the Colorado Bankers Association. Earlier in the week, the Colorado Supreme Court stopped two potential ballot initiatives – Amendment 94, which would authorize municipalities to own and operate banks, and Amendment 95, which would create a state bank. Then, on Friday, the proponents of Initiative 84 aka “the foreclosure proposal” halted their campaign – and that was the biggie.  

Initiative 84 has been championed by a group called the Colorado Progressive Coalition (CPC), which had closely aligned itself with the Occupy movement. According to its web site, the CPC is “one of Colorado's most successful non-profit advocate organizations, credited with major victories in our focus areas of civil, social, racial, health and economic justice.”  

The initiative would have piled on senseless paperwork and additional regulation to the already paperwork-intensive foreclosure process, while doing nothing to actually stop foreclosures in Colorado.  

A letter from the CBA forwarded to the Peak noted, “[CBA] believe they realized early that they lacked funding, that the Denver Post started to report accurately the documentation we must provide, and that the CPC proposal was flawed.”  

In fact, the proposal was flawed as its unintended consequences were serious. According to the CBA Fact Sheet on Amendment 84, the initiative would have been damaging:  

“[The consequences of this initiative] will prevent homebuyers from taking advantage of low real estate prices and low interest rates, destroy 1000s of jobs and small businesses, depress property values, and slow the real estate recovery. It creates Colorado’s own recession.”  

Colorado already has significant issues in the housing market. In fact, foreclosure web site RealtyTrac showed that Colorado foreclosed one house for every 677 properties in May, which places Colorado in the top 15 states for foreclosure by rate.  

This is yet another attempt by liberals to blame the wrong people and enact the wrong policy to a problem created by them. A June 2012 Congressional Report by NeighborWorks America, a foreclosure mitigation organization, noted that “the percentage of homeowners stating their primary reason for facing foreclosure is unemployment or underemployment is now 62 percent, up from 41 percent in October 2008.”

Another day in 2012, another loss for the progressive coalition in Colorado. Their big government bank shot met the fate it deserved.

 

SHOCK: New York Times Finds Democrat Pollster PPP Oversamples Democrats Badly

We've been saying for the last year that Democrat polling firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) has a sampling problem — they oversample Democrats and undersample Republicans in their Colorado polls, delivering skewed results. Now The New York Times polling expert, Nate Silver, finds that PPP, on average, has a "house effect" that leans to the Democrats by 3.1 points. Rasmussen, by comparison, only shows a 1.3 point Republican lean.

Here's the NYT's finding, visually:

This means PPP's results are showing Obama doing three points better than the NYT's "consensus of surveys." Without diving into the statistical weeds, what this basically does is create results that paint a rosier reality for Obama and Democrats than actually exists according to a roundup of the best publicly available polling.

The Grey Lady endorsement of a point we've been making for some time now is especially painful for PPP, who in their April Colorado poll ended the press release with this sentence:

PPP is a Democratic polling company, but polling expert Nate Silver of the New York Times found that its surveys in 2010 actually exhibited a slight bias toward Republican candidates.

No one noted it at the time, but this sentence was conspicuously absent from their last press release on Colorado poll results. Maybe PPP should update their press release template with this:

PPP is a Democratic polling company, and polling expert Nate Silver of the New York Times found that its surveys in 2012 have exhibited a strong bias toward Democratic candidates. 

This is a fact we hope reporters covering future PPP polls note in their coverage, as PPP's previous New York Times spin has ended up in print (cough*Tim Hoover*cough).

(Graph Credit: FiveThirtyEight)


 

DAY LATE, DOLLAR SHORT: ACU To Announce Legislative Ratings Three Days After Primary

The American Conservative Union (ACU) will be announcing their inaugural ratings of the Colorado State Legislature on June 29 — three days after this year's primaries. It's too bad such a prestigious organization is a day late and a dollar short.

This Friday, from 3:30-5:00 at the Hyatt Regency Denver, ACU President Chairman Al Cardenas will be releasing the full 2012 Colorado Legislative Ratings Guide. 

That event probably should have been scheduled for a few weeks ago, back when candidates and conservatives across Colorado would have been clamoring for ways to differentiate their pick in the primaries. Post-primary, the ACU scores simply matter less electorally — there really isn't much debate as to which candidate is more conservative when it's Republican vs. Democrat. 

Individual legislators' scores began seeping out last week, with high scorers taking to Facebook, Twitter and press releases to announce their high ratings. But even that will mean little to their races, as ballots have been out for weeks and the time to draft new direct mail has past. 

We're glad that the ACU is ranking the Colorado Legislature, as it will provide voters with an additional level of analysis on voting records of incumbents — we just wish someone had checked the elections calendar before deciding on a date that will ensure the least impact possible.

(Photo Credit: NextRound.net)


 

PAGING DEBRA JOHNSON: Dem “Unity Dinner” Speaker Maxine Waters Say Colorado Doesn’t Suppress Votes

On Saturday, Colorado House District 7 Democrats hosted their "Unity Dinner," featuring guest speaker Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who is most notable for the ongoing, bipartisan ethics investigation into her helping a bank get a bailout where her husband had invested over $200,000. She's also been known to make more than a few outlandish statements — like suggesting she wanted to "socialize" the natural resources sector.

Knowing her history, imagine our surprise when Waters made a statement we can finally support.  According to Denver Post blogess, Lynn Bartels, Waters said at a news conference that “Colorado does not appear to be one of the states actively involved in voter suppression," and then, went on to define the tactics:  

“Colorado does not require photo ID or employ some of the other tactics other states have employed that critics says amounts to voter suppression.”  

Paging Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson!

Last week Johnson attacked Secretary of State Scott Gessler as supporting "voter suppression, plain and simple" — only to quietly delete that allegation from her statement online.

We couldn’t agree more that Colorado doesn’t suppress voting. But, asking for voter ID is not the definition of voter suppression. In fact, this video looks more like voter suppression than simply asking for an ID, which one must present to get on an airplane, buy alcohol, get a library card and more.  

Below is a map of voter ID laws throughout the country. Even traditionally-liberal Michigan requires a photo ID in order to cast a ballot.  

Of course, the real question is – why is the Democratic Party so nervous about the legislative trend requiring voters to present photo identification? Seems like a lack of faith in its candidates to deliver the votes.


 

GOON IN BLUE: Meet The New Face Of Education Reform Obstruction

A huge fight between the reformist Douglas County School Board and the obstructionist local teachers union is brewing — and it is getting ugly, fast. Negotiations between the school board and the local Douglas County Federation of Teachers (DCFT) are down to their last week and without a settlement the teachers union will find itself conspicuously irrelevant, whether they continue to send their blue-shirted goons to future school board meetings or not. 

Should a settlement not be reached, almost every teacher will still have a contract, only the teachers union won't be able to take credit for it. 

A lot has been said about the Douglas County School Board, and their rock star Superintendent Liz Fagen.  

But less is known about the villain in this drama, the DCFT and their Head Honcho, Brenda Smith (see right).

DCFT is a chapter of the national American Federation of Teachers (AFT) — the second largest in the country — a union most recently embarrassed by its loss in Wisconsin after dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars

Normally that kind of campaign cash gets them something, but not in Wisconsin and not in Douglas County.


AFT spent $1.9 million on Obama's campaign in 2008, and in return its New York City affiliate, UFT, was the recipient of the largest Obamacare waiver in the country. 

That's why the Douglas County School Board seems to stick in AFT and DCFT's craw — they can't be bought and they don't want the unions' money. A more serious problem is the union doesn't seem to have the strong backing of Douglas County teachers either.

Reports Ed News Colorado:

As of last Friday, the June 15 deadline by which the district required teachers to return individual contracts and receive a 1 percent retention bonus, only 51 of the district’s 2,979 teachers had not signed  on to return for another year.

So there are, at most, only 51 loyal union foot soldiers holding out, willing to risk their jobs over the union concessions? That's probably because what the school board wants isn't unreasonable to the rational mind.

What does the school board want? Vincent Carroll explained in a recent post:

Board members don't like the fact that the district serves as a collection agency for union dues, a major part of which are siphoned off to the union's national headquarters. There they are used to stifle school choice and other reforms as well as shore up the Democratic Party.  

They don't like having an exclusive bargaining unit that has become increasingly hostile to the district's agenda even though that agenda has been endorsed by voters in two elections, including last November.  

They don't like paying salaries of union officials who aren't in the classroom, or listing them as employees so they'll be eligible for a public pension.  

They want to base teacher salaries more on  performance and market demand — paying a premium for hard-to-find specialists, for example — not on longevity in the classroom or advanced degrees that don't seem to correlate with better outcomes.

As The Denver Post recently noted, Douglas County would be one of the few districts in the state even offering a raise. But it's not enough for Brenda Smith and DCFT. They want a 2 percent raise, plus a 1 percent signing bonus, and DCFT demands they retain exclusive rights as the negotiating agent for teachers. 

They're not going to get it.

What appears to be the biggest issue for Brenda Smith and the union goons is the very real threat to their singular power among teachers. Here is what Smith had to say about the idea that DCFT will no longer have complete power as the sole representative of teachers at the bargaining table:

"Exclusivity for a union with majority support is not a monopoly, it is democracy,” she wrote. “It is order rather than chaos. It allows employees to select their representative freely, without coercion from the employer. It allows them to amplify their voice through collective action under our constitutionally protected right to freedom of association."

Let's get this straight — allowing only one organization to represent all teachers is democracy, but allowing teachers multiple options for representation, including themselves, is a monopoly? Please tell us Brenda Smith wasn't previously a civics teacher. 

Regardless of this latest obstructionism, school will go on and DCFT's behavior will continue to impact actual education policy less and less. It seems to be the singular narrative around unions lately, doesn't it?

(Photo Credit: DCFT.net)

 

TACKY: Obama Wants Your Wedding Gifts, Too

Obama for America campaign caused quite a stir on Twitter and Facebook on Friday when the campaign launched its latest fundraising gimmick – asking that those getting married “let [their] friends know how important this election is to you” by registering with Obama 2012, and asking for a donation in lieu of a gift.

Is the campaign serious? Now? At a time when young people are disproportionately affected by Obama economics?

As of 2011, the median age at a first marriage in the United States was 26.5 years, according to a Pew study on marriage. As of 2009, Colorado’s median age at first marriage was 25.7, according to the Population Reference Bureau, which is pretty close to average for the United States.    

In fact a press release by Generation Opportunity, claims that the unemployment among 18-29 year olds is over 12% for the month of May. A different study by Pew showed that just 54 percent of American ages 18 to 24 currently have jobs. According to a Huffington Post article:  

“That's the lowest employment rate for this age group since the government began keeping track in 1948. And it's a sharp drop from the 62 percent who had jobs in 2007 — suggesting the recession is crippling career prospects for a broad swath of young people who were still in high school or college when the downturn began.”  

While Obama has requested that the nation’s hardest hit forego the wedding gifts that often equip newlyweds with the tools needed to start a household, his friend and staffer Valerie Jarrett’s daughter, Laura, was married last weekend, a wedding Obama attended personally. Her registries were available via AmazingRegistry.com, a site that aggregates a couple’s registries into one location. The funny thing…Obama for America was not listed on her registry. 

In fact, the bride and groom registered for some lovely items from Crate and Barrel as well as Williams-Sonoma – including, not a gravy boat, as was referenced by the Obama campaign, but a four-cup gravy separator.

We’re not begrudging the new Mr. and Mrs. Balkissoon the fun and excitement of a wedding registry. It just seems that Obama expects sacrifices from Americans that he and his staff are not willing to make themselves. And, that, friends, is the height of poor taste.


 

TOUGH WEEK: Unions Handed A Heavy Load Of Defeat, Again

It's been another tough week for unions, especially coming only two weeks after their epic loss to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. This week their losses come in the form of a Supreme Court smackdown and a Denver Post editorial slam.

On the Supreme Court smackdown, per the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that unions must give nonmembers an immediate chance to object to unexpected fee increases or special assessments that all workers are required to pay in closed-shop situations.  

The court ruled for Dianne Knox and other nonmembers of the Service Employees International Union's Local 1000, who wanted to object and opt out of a $12 million special assessment the union required from its California public sector members for political campaigning. Knox and others said the union did not give them a legally required notice that the increase was coming.

Translated: No, SEIU, you cannot strong-arm funds from nonmember public sector employees to fund your corrupt election practices.  

The Supreme Court took the case after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Liberal Pandering, or rather, Appeals ruled the annual notice was enough. The Supreme Court disagreed – and it wasn’t even close – in a 7-2 judgment. Ouch – not only shut down, but with the consent of Justices Sotomayor and Bader Ginsberg. Sotomayor’s opinion was particularly well-written:  

“When a public-sector union imposes a special assessment intended to fund solely political lobbying efforts, the First Amendment requires that the union provide non-members an opportunity to opt out of the contribution of funds.”

This ruling comes on the heels of a Denver Post editorial slam of the Douglas County Federation of Teachers (DCFT) who have gone crying to the labor department because they finally have to deal with a school board whose members' campaigns weren't bankrolled by union interests.

The Post editorial said having the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) intervene in the contract negotiation between the teachers union and the school board "would be a mistake" because "the state simply has no compelling reason to enter the fray and substitute its judgment for that of a locally elected school board."

Exactly.

Noting that the Executive Director of CDLE, Ellen Golombek, is a former labor official (AFL-CIO and SEIU), the Post hints at the conflict of interest there. 

What they didn't mention is Ellen Golombek has already shown her willingness to act corruptly in the name of her friends in labor unions. A 9News investigation found that Golombek helped line up a $142,000 CDLE contract for a friend who she worked with at AFL-CIO and SEIU. While people waited for hours on hold for answers to their unemployment insurance questions, Golombek was helping her friend pull in six figures of taxpayer money for a job she showed up to the office for only two days in her first month. 

No wonder DCFT is asking Golombek to intervene. 

It's clear the education reform rockstars on the Douglas County School Board will hold the line, demanding the union stops using taxpayer resources to pay for their staff and help collect their campaign cash. So we guess we're looking at even more tough weeks ahead for unions in Colorado…


 
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