As many of you may have heard, former Republican Rep. Ken Summers contracted West Nile virus, which caused encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, and meningitis. While his prognosis is good, he will likely need significant physical rehabilitation. You can follow his journey here. To help defray the medical costs, a fundraiser will take place on Wednesday, August 7th at noon. The invitation is below. Please consider attending. If you cannot attend, please consider contributing to help with Ken Summers’ recovery.
In a tele-townhall last night with party insiders and key supporters, a source tells Colorado Peak Politics that U.S. Senator Mark Udall claims Republicans have a “5-6 point advantage” in the 2014 elections.
While Udall was using that figure to scare up donations from supportive Democrats on the call, our source on the call thought it was an interesting admission.
Someone should ask Udall’s Colorado counterpart, Senator Michael Bennet, if he agrees with that assessment, as Bennet is running the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Midterms election turnout tends to favor Republicans more than Presidential years, and with Obama in his second term, Democrats are destined to be facing stiff headwinds. Historically, the President’s party loses seats during second term Congressional elections.
Republicans need to pick up 6 Senate seats to take the majority.
As a longtime DC politician — Udall has been there since he won his House seat in 1998 — the stink of the DC swamps is all over Udall. That has to be a cause for concern no matter who his opponent ends up being.
Currently, Republican State Senators Owen Hill and Randy Baumgardner have announced challenges to Udall. State Representative Amy Stephens and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck are also rumored to be looking at the race.
Yesterday, Roll Call published a list of 10 U.S. House GOP up-and-comers who are on the short list to be Speaker of the House. Colorado’s Cory Gardner made that list. Here’s what the publication said about him:
“Party leaders have been watching this sophomore from the start. Cory Gardner was picked to serve on the transition team tasked with shepherding in the new GOP majority, giving him an “in” with senior members before he was even sworn in. He cemented those relationships heading into this Congress, when he backed mainstream, establishment-endorsed candidates for leadership.
Sensing Gardner could be a team player, Republican leaders gave him a plum assignment on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Unlike more rabble-rousing members of the 2010 class, Gardner has opted to brand himself as a staunch conservative who is still able to work well with others.”
On Tuesday, the Boulder City Council participated in a study session where a majority of the members came out saying that they wanted to reduce carbon emissions in the city by 80% by the year 2050, while some wanted to achieve a completely carbon neutral nirvana by that point.
But there’s a catch: it appears that all of this discussion is merely window dressing, as scientists do not believe that such an outcome is attainable. The Daily Camera reported over the weekend that if Boulder stays the course with its already aggressive Climate Action Plan, greenhouse gas emissions will actually be 15% higher in 2050 than they are today.
More importantly, the same article quoted Roger Pielke, Jr., who self-identifies as a professor of environmental studies, calling the analysis that is used in these sorts of studies “just decoration,” and said that “Boulder’s climate commitment is more an expression of values than a realistic goal.”
It seems as if the people who have shouted for years that you cannot legislate morality were really only against things that fell outside of their own narrow worldview.
Through traffic regulations, building codes, rules around leisure and recreational activities, and other measures, Boulder’s city council is in a position to create all sorts of freedom-restricting policy in pursuit of a goal that cannot be reached. Such policies also act as an impediment to the efficient allocation of capital, as money is diverted to unnecessary projects and away from projects that would result in a more positive economic impact for the community and investors.
We cannot say that we are surprised by this – it is Boulder, of course. But there are certainly like-minded individuals looking to influence local policy in every corner of our state, and the last thing our nascent recovery needs are these types of “good ideas.”
This week, Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper may have opened his mailbox to an unwelcome letter – an ethics complaint filed with Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission over his personal use of the state’s plane. The complainant is Grassroots Radio host Jason Worley. Since the left is the only side with a vastly-funded legal operation solely dedicated to suing the other side of the aisle, leave it to a gutsy radio host to take on the Governor himself.
According to the complaint:
“On or about August 16, 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper attended the weekend kick-off for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Durango, Colorado (the “Durango Kick-off”) and used a State-owned King Air Turbo, with the Tail Number N205SP (the “State-owned plane”) to transport himself, his son, and Ken Gart to the Durango Kick-off. On information and belief, Ken Gart is a political supporter of the Governor and not an employee of Colorado.”
The complaint asks the IEC for a specific remedy of double the amount of “the financial benefit obtained through the public funds and/or property”. Despite the fact that Hick and Gart reimbursed the state for the plane ride, the ethics case against Gessler opened the door for this type of remedy. Read the rest of the complaint here for additional details.
Another interesting point about this complaint is that Gart is no ordinary political donor. The Gart family has given, by our calculations, over $13,000 to Hick alone, according to TRACER. Ken Gart and his wife Rebecca have maxed out to Hickenlooper each year he’s been governor. Ken Gart is part of the Gart Family of Denver. Have you been to Gart Sporting Goods? Or have you heard the store’s SNIAGRAB (that’s bargains for those of you who can’t read backwards) ads? Right, those Garts. Ken Gart has two brothers, Tom and John, who also are married to Margie and Martha. It’s also worth noting that Sally Gart recently gave $1,000 to the “A Whole Lot of People for John Morse” committee.
After giving over $16,000 to his campaign, the least Hick could do is give the guy a ride. Regardless of societal propriety, the state plane isn’t Hick’s to use to wine and dine top donors and it’s incumbent upon the IEC to ensure that Governor Hickenlooper is given equal treatment as Gessler.
An explosive story by Valerie Richardson in The Colorado Observer yesterday has created some serious concerns about the integrity of the upcoming recall elections of Senate President John Morse and Senator Angela Giron.
Due to a bill sponsored by Senator Giron herself, HB1303, voters no longer have to be residents of the district they vote in…they only have to have the intention of someday becoming residents.
The recall races are the first elections the bill will impact.
Per Valerie Richardson:
DENVER—Let’s say you live in Boulder, but you really want to vote in the Sept. 10 recall election of Senate President John Morse in Colorado Springs.
Impossible? Under Colorado’s new election law, maybe not. Just show up at a Voter Service and Polling Center in Colorado Springs on or before Election Day, and tell the staffers that you intend to move to Morse’s Senate District 11.
As long as you’ve lived somewhere in Colorado for the past 22 days—even if you don’t actually live in the district—there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to cast a ballot, said Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Jack Arrowsmith.
Under the newly passed Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act, “the only residency requirement for voters is that they have to live anywhere in Colorado for the last 22 days,” said Arrowsmith, now serving his seventh year as county clerk. “It poses some interesting questions.”
What’s more, even if you never move to Senate District 11, you haven’t actually committed a crime under the new law, as long as you vote only once per election, he said.
As recall elections tend to be very low-turnout affairs, any sort of electoral shenanigans could have an outsized impact on the races.
Unfortunately, this past legislative session was filled with sloppily written legislation, from the gun bills to this election reform monstrosity.
Governor Hickenlooper was infamously forced to add an unprecedented signing statement to a number of gun bills, as the language in the bills was so poorly drafted the magazine ban could have ended up banning virtually all ammunition magazines.
Was HB1303 another incident of lazy and incompetent legislating or did Democrats open the door wide on election fraud?
State Senator Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) is facing a historic recall election for her anti-gun votes in the legislature, but her first recall ad mentions no mention of the issue.
While the rest of the Pueblo delegation, both Republican and Democrat, voted against a number of controversial anti-gun bills, Giron stood by her party leadership and voted for them.
She says she’s proud to stand by her votes, yet in her first opportunity to do so, she balks. Just like Senate President John Morse’s first ad, guns go completely unmentioned. And also like Morse’s ad she accuses “extreme groups from Denver” for supporting the recall while most of her money comes from Denver and DC.
A recent article in Politico has called Colorado’s Sixth Congressional race between current Republican U.S. Representative Mike Coffman and Democrat Andrew Romanoff the toughest in the state for 2014 and, possibly, the toughest in the nation for the off-year election. The article cites the Rothenberg Political Report which calls the district a “pure toss up”.
Politico cites Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Brandon Lorenz as saying, “Andrew is one of the top fundraising challengers in the country on either side of the aisle. He is going to absolutely have the money he needs to win this race.”
That said, Romanoff’s recent entry into the race should have meant that he was plucking “low-hanging” fundraising dollars and yet Coffman still out-raised Romanoff last reporting cycle. Coffman has fundraising powerhouse Starboard behind him, which the article failed to mention.
While the article was a little light on Republican opinions, it did quote former U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo, who represented the district prior to Coffman. He called the race a “really, really big money battle”.
Political commentator Eric Sondermann also offered his insight:
“I suspect the district will largely follow the national trend line. If Romanoff either has a neutral breeze or a slight breeze at his back, he can win that seat. My question is: Can he win that seat if there’s a head wind? And I’m not sure that he can.”
And, that’s true, but Coffman won in 2012 even as Obama took 53% of the vote in CD6. He also won in the bloodbath of 2006 in a statewide race, proving that he’s not your average endangered Republican. A former combat veteran, Coffman knows how to survive a firefight. Romanoff might need more than a neutral or slight breeze to take CD6.
UPDATE: Romanoff has taken down the pictures of him meeting with his “constituents” in Denver
Former State House Speaker and failed U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff (D-Denver) has run for so many offices in the last few years it appears he’s lost his bearings.
The current 6th Congressional District candidate earlier today posted an album of pictures on his campaign Facebook page entitled “Visiting with Constituents.”
Only they’re not pictures from his 2013 run for Congress, but rather his 2010 run for U.S. Senate and include a picture of him meeting with people in Denver. The 6th CD is based in Aurora.
A few dead giveaways:
He’s wearing his U.S. Senate campaign t-shirt.
His “constituents” are wearing his U.S. Senate campaign gear:
Colorado’s Democrats are pushing for a $1 Billion personal income tax increase on this fall’s ballot.
Before we rush to approve this 18% increase in individual income tax collection, let’s look at the success Colorado’s revenue collectors have in collecting at the tax rate currently on the books. The table shows the number of Coloradans who felt unable to pay their taxes and therefore had “distraint warrants” filed against their property.
Because individual filings are 98% of all taxable filings, most of these distressed taxpayers are working individuals and families.
What makes us think joy will abound when we start collecting an additional billion bucks? Instead, we should be calculating the thousands of Coloradans who won’t be able to pay.
When the head of the Federal Reserve calls our economy “weak,” why would we raise income taxes on individuals … and let business income taxpayers skate? Is this another benefit Big Business gets for contributing to the Democrats’ 527 political slush fund?
“I don’t think the Fed can get interest rates up very much, because the economy is weak, inflation rates are low. If we were to tighten policy, the economy would tank.” Ben Bernanke, Testimony, House Financial Services Committee, 7/17
* Some technical notes. The Department of Revenue automated their distraint warrant filings in FY ’11 to eliminate a backlog, according to DOR’s Sonya Thordsen. FY ’12 doesn’t include backlog cases. FY ’13, which ended June 30, is a “working” number that may change a bit per Jessica Zender of State Judicial. Tax-cutting Gov. Bill Owens’ last full fiscal year saw 9,039 distraint warrants … so we still have about six times as many distressed taxpayers as before our current slow-growth regime. The number of distraint warrants in 2012 equaled 5.8% of all taxable income tax filings, though some distraint warrants are filed for other non-payment issues.