ANALYSIS: Why Colorado Media Markets are a Problem for Udall

Udall’s stale talking points coming to a TV near you

Colorado only has a handful of media markets that serve the population centers of our state, which is making it really hard for liberal U.S. Sen. Mark Udall’s whole “define Cory Gardner first strategy” to actually be successful.

Udall and Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio seem to think that Coloradans are unaware of Gardner’s record, and that it is something in need of exposing.  The problem with that strategy is that, for the last four years, Gardner has been representing a district that largely consumes Front Range-based media, especially when it comes to TV news.  That means not only have people in Gardner’s 4th Congressional District seen every attack ad ever made about Gardner but so has almost every community that is part of the Front Range, except for Colorado Springs.  And let’s face it – Gardner doesn’t have to worry about shoring up the vote in Colorado Springs. continue…


BUZZ: Senator Morse Courting DCCC For Coffman Challenge

Never mind that he doesn’t live in the District, Senate President John Morse (D-Camaro) is reportedly chatting up power-brokers in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) about the possibility of challenging Rep. Mike Coffman in 2014, according to our sources.

Last cycle, Morse was also looking at challenging Coffman, according to Lynn Bartels, but ultimately decided to let Joe Miklosi take the lead on losing the race.

Not living in the district he is seeking to represent would not be new for Morse. In 2006, when he first ran for State Senate he moved into a condo inside the district only days before the deadline to qualify for the district. Candidates must live in a legislative district for at least one year prior to the election.

As a Congressman, Morse would be eligible for a healthy pay raise, jumping from his current salary of $30,000 to $174,000 as a Member of Congress. This may be a consideration for Morse, who was investigated by an Ethics Committee in 2011 for claiming official per diem on days he was playing golf, having dinner with lobbyists and attending political fundraisers.

The Ethics Committee empaneled to investigate Morse, and appointed by then-Senate President Brandon Shaffer, had a Democratic majority and decided not to pursue the charges based on a technicality. But it’s not every day the Senate President decides to formally investigate his own #2.



SHAFFTED & OUT-PACED: Brandon Shaffer and Sal Pace Receive Fewer Votes Than Kevin Lundberg

Colorado’s Sad Clowns, Brandon Shaffer and Sal Pace

Amidst the Republican Party wound-licking, there was one ray of sunshine that warmed our hearts and made us smile just a little brighter.  CD4 loser and Colorado Democrats’ “rising star” Brandon Shaffted Shaffer and CD3 Democratic felon Sal Pace (D-Urination) received fewer votes than Republican whipping boy Kevin Lundberg, who ran unsuccessfully against Congressman Jared Polis.  In fact, Lundberg’s over 158,000 votes equated to nearly 40,000 more votes than Shaffer and about 24,000 more than Pace. (H/T to Sen. Brophy for pointing out Pace’s, ahem, shortcomings.)


To put that into perspective, it would be like if the entire city of Littleton (pop. 41,000) didn’t vote for Shaffer or the entire city of Lafayette (pop. 24,000) didn’t vote for  Pace.  Yes, we realize that these towns aren’t in either of these candidates’ districts, but we’re going for size not geography. continue…


FIRST RACES CALLED: Shaffer, Pace Massacred

We have no polling. No inside information to report.

But the Peak is prepared to call the races in the 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts, with two Big Shot legislative Democrats set to receive a thorough shellacking.

Sal Pace (D-Urination) and Senate President Brandon Shaffer ran two of the most feckless campaigns in Colorado history, never even remotely threatening two incumbent freshmen Republican Congressmen, Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner.

Despite Pace’s feckless fumble, liberal groups targeted Congressman Tipton with withering harassment for the entirety of his first two years, but to utterly no effect. We don’t know the margin yet, but it’s safe to say the “tax-raising twit” — as Grover Norquist dubbed Pace — is going down pretty hard.

Shaffer may have attempted to draw himself a winnable district during redistricting, but the Brandon-Mander didn’t come to be, instead seeing Shaffer stuck in a district that might be safely described as R+457. He’ll go down in probably the biggest loss in CD4 in decades.


“AIKEN” FOR CASH: Brandon Shaffer Misspells Missouri Congressman’s Name In Lame Fundraising Pitch

Senate President and Congressional candidate Brandon Shaffer is aching for campaign cash. He was in such a rush to jump on the controversy of the day surrounding Missouri Congressman Todd Akin that his campaign misspelled Akin's name "Aiken" in a fundraising email this afternoon.

It's odd watching Shaffer trying to pile on a rape controversy, seeing that he compared his political plight to victims of rape and sexual assault earlier this year…and never apologized for the inappropriate and self-aggrandizing remarks publicly.   

Shaffer, of course, is now running in a district that a Democrat couldn't win even if the incumbent Republican was found with both a dead girl and a live boy. Since the powers-that-be behind the drawing of the Democrat redistricting maps screwed Shaffer, his fundraising has dried up faster than a Nebraska cornfield.

As of July 1, Shaffer had pulled in a meager $550,000 to Gardner's $1.8 million.

So it's no wonder Shaffer would say whatever it takes to make a few extra bucks. That apparently includes attacking his opponent on his birthday. The email asks recipients to give Shaffer $38 to mark Congressman Gardner's 38th birthday today. 

Stay classy, Brandon Shaffer. 

Oh, and if you end up raising any money from the email, maybe you can hire some staff that can spell. 


FLASHBACK: Brandon Shaffer Compared His Political Plight To Rape Victims In January

After Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin got a much-deserved national foot up his *ss for his moronic musings on rape, it's worth remembering another Congressional candidate's own thoughtless thoughts on the subject right here in Colorado.

Earlier this year, Senate President and 4th Congressional District candidate Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) compared his political plight to a victim of rape or sexual assault. 

From a Sunday Denver Post editorial by Curtis Hubbard on January 8, 2012:

So Wednesday I asked him what he thought about our editorial that blamed the GOP for their obstruction on the issue but also questioned the wisdom of Democrats having their top two leaders in the statehouse running for Congress. (Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, is challenging Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, in the 3rd CD. Pace has since stepped down as House minority leader.)    

"What I thought when I read your piece — it's a little bit like blaming the woman or saying to a woman she deserved it," he said, apparently referencing victims of rape or sexual harassment. [Peak emphasis]

Yes, Shaffer actually had the ego-maniacal mindset to say that blaming him for inviting partisan opposition by running for Congress from a legislative leadership position is akin to blaming a woman for being raped.

No wonder Democrats decided he was the weakest link in redistricting and cut him loose.

It doesn't appear that Shaffer has made any statement about the Akin controversy, despite other Democrats trying to jump on the story of the day. That's probably best. Wouldn't want people remembering what he said seven months ago


SHAFFER: We Have a “Good Track Record” of Job Creation

Poor Brandon Shaffer Shafted.  Perhaps he's been very, very busy trying to rebuild his Congressional campaign after getting screwed in the redistricting process, and has missed the enormous, steaming pile of negative economic news. 

On Wednesday morning, he told the Longmont Times-Call's John Fryar that "we've got a good track record of creating jobs here in Colorado."

That's a surprising proclamation seeing as Colorado's long-term average unemployment hovers just above 5.5%.  ICYMI: (Shafted, this is for you) unemployment is at 8.2%, which is tied with the national unemployment.  And, it was under his Senate leadership that Colorado reached a ten-year high of 9% unemployment in 2010. And while we're no longer at 9%, we're still a far cry from the usual 5.56%.

We wished we lived on Sen. Shafted's planet, where jobs are plentiful.  We bet the approximately 225,000 unemployed Coloradans do, too.


WINNING? Congressional Candidates Miklosi, Pace, and Shaffer Top AFL-CIO Rankings

The AFL-CIO has released its annual legislative rankings, which place nearly every Democratic legislator near the top for voting in the union's interests.  

Democratic Congressional candidates Joe Miklosi (candidate for CD-6), Sal Pace (candidate for CD-3), and Brandon Shaffer (CD-4) all have received high lifetime achievement rankings by the AFL-CIO.  Shaffer and Pace received a lifetime legislative rating of 97%, and Miklosi received a 95% rating.  In case it wasn't clear, that means that these guys voted the "right way" nearly 100% of the time on bills that favored by the AFL-CIO.

By our calculations (courtesy of, AFL-CIO and its affiliates contributed at least $570,000 in the 2010 campaign to a wide variety of candidates and causes in Colorado.

So, the question becomes – Are these legislators voting in favor of their constituents or in favor of special interest union cash?

But, in case you felt bad for these three, know that they're not alone.  There are several candidates for the State House and Senate who have a 100% lifetime rating with the AFL-CIO. That's right, they've never voted against a bill that the AFL-CIO likes.

In the Senate, those incumbent candidates are:

Morgan Carroll (SD-29)
Angela Giron (SD-03)
Lucia Guzman (SD-34)
Mike Johnston (SD-33)
Jeanne Nicholson (SD-16)

In the House, those incumbent candidates are:

Chrisanta Duran (HD-05)
Randy Fischer (HD-53)
Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (HD-10)
Don Pabon (HD-04)
Cherilyn Peniston (HD-35)
Su Ryden (HD-36)
Jon Singer (HD-11)

Of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention Andy Kerr, who is running for State Senate.  He also received an A+ for union loyalty – a 100% lifetime rating.  His commitment to advancing the union cause certainly deserves at least a pat on the back.

The special interest group also went with a new tagline of Reinvest in Colorado. First, these people wanted Invest as a euphemysm for higher taxes, now they want reinvest, as if we're doubling down on the financial blackhole they've created?

All we can say, is congratulations ladies and gentlemen for your honor, and condolences to taxpayers for the bill from this union racket.



12,200 COLORADO JOBS LOST? New Study Finds Obama Tax Hike To Kill Employment

A new study by powerhouse accounting firm Ernst & Young finds that Obama's proposed tax hikes could kill 710,000 jobs nationwide, including 12,200 here in Colorado. The study found that the tax increases could result in an over $200 billion hit to the economy, with $3.5 billion of lost economic output in Colorado.

From the study:

With the combination of these tax changes at the beginning of 2013 the top tax rate on ordinary income will rise from 35% in 2012 to 40.9%, the top tax rate on dividends will rise from 15% to 44.7% and the top tax rate on capital gains will rise from 15% to 24.7%.

These higher tax rates result in a significant increase in the average marginal tax rates (AMTR) on business, wage, and investment income, as well as the marginal effective tax rate (METR) on new business investment. This report finds that the AMTR increases significantly for wages (5.0%), flow-through business income (6.4%), interest (16.5%), dividends (157.1%) and capital gains (39.3%). The METR on new business investment increases by 15.8% for the corporate sector and 15.6% for flow-through businesses.  

This report finds that these higher marginal tax rates result in a smaller economy, fewer jobs, less investment, and lower wages. Specifically, this report finds that the higher tax rates will have significant adverse economic effects in the long-run: lowering output, employment, investment, the capital stock, and real after-tax wages when the resulting revenue is used to finance additional government spending. [Peak emphasis]

You don't have to take Ernst & Young's word for it. President Obama himself has said that raising taxes in a recession is bad policy. Let's check the tape:

President Obama: “The last thing we want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession because that would just suck up, take more demand out of the economy.”

With unemployment rising in Colorado in both April and May, the time for tax increases, per Ernst & Young and the president himself, is not now. Actually, it’s pretty much never the time, but definitely not now.

“If our president is so out of touch as to think the private sector is “doing fine” and says “if you’ve got a small business, you didn’t build that,” then we shouldn’t be surprised that he believes a tax increase that will cost Americans jobs is the solution to get our economy back on track,” said RNC Spokesperson Ellie Wallace.

With this devastating study on the devastating impacts of Obama’s tax hike plan it will be interesting to see the reaction of Colorado Congressional candidates. Will the press pick up the phone and ask?


RISING STAR: Congressman Cory Gardner Spotlighted By Politico, Roll Call

Congressman Cory Gardner has quickly risen in the ranks in his short time in Congress and now two prominent DC publications are taking notice. Last week, Politico dubbed Gardner one of five "Politico Pro Players" in its annual 50 Politicos to Watch list. Then today, Roll Call named Gardner one of five stand out freshmen members.

From Politico's write up:

Freshman Rep. Cory Gardner has been pushed to the forefront of the House GOP effort to keep the Environmental Protection Agency in check and expand domestic energy production.  

But the Colorado Republican is angling himself as part of a future strategy that may have to bend more toward compromise after much divisive debate this Congress.  

“This is sort of the frustration I have with Republicans; it’s a frustration I have with Democrats,” he told POLITICO in a June 26 interview. “It seems to me that if you have a bill out of the House, the only thing it can be on is traditional energy. If you have a bill out of the Senate, the only thing it can be on is renewable energy.”  

…Gardner is in a safe Republican district in what is overall a presidential swing state. His free-market approach to a diverse set of energy sources is pretty much in line with those of many GOP colleagues.  

“I think the EPA, Interior, they’ve hurt a lot of Western producers in the amount of time it’s taken some permits [to move] through the various agencies,” he said.

We at the Peak know a little something about this list, as we were selected as one of five bloggers to watch last year, though our anonymity ultimately kept us from winning. 

If Gardner has been anything in DC, it's certainly not anonymous. Roll Call also notices:

A top staffer to former Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) before being elected to the Colorado state House, Gardner said his time on Capitol Hill gave him an understanding of what people demand of their leaders, namely competence.  

“There are a lot of the same kinds of issues now that we were dealing with in 2002,” he said, naming Allard’s work on a highway bill and a farm bill that year. “What helped was to see what worked and what didn’t work.”  

It also made him a known commodity and a favorite of leaders, especially on energy messaging.

Gardner's district is now considered one of the safest, if not the safest, GOP seat in Colorado. With a stellar record like this from only his first 18 months, it's no wonder Democrats decided to throw his opponent, Brandon Shaffer, under the bus during redistricting. 

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