FUNDRAISER: Help Former Rep. Ken Summers Recover

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.


OBAMA VS DOUGCO: Rep. McNulty Blasts AFL-CIO & DougCo Teachers Union For Spending Priorities

The fight down in Douglas County is ramping up in the lead up to the 2013 school board elections in November. Rep. Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch) recently weighed in on the issue, blasting the local teachers union for sending most of their union dues to elect Barack Obama and almost none on teacher development.

Check out McNulty’s robodial:

If you listen carefully you’ll note McNulty takes a veiled swipe at 9News union rep education reporter, Nelson Garcia, who has been reporting the union smear that Douglas County teachers are leaving in droves. Turns out it’s not only not true, but Douglas County has the same retention rate as union-friendly districts like Cherry Creek.

Strangely, Garcia has yet to report on Cherry Creek’s “colander” for teachers. Guess the AFL-CIO isn’t interested in feeding him that story.

We also received this walk piece (after the jump) from a reader down in Castle Rock that lays out the line of attack highlighted in McNulty’s robodial, namely that the DougCo union sent 70% of its union dues to Washington, DC to elect Barack Obama and only 1% on actual teacher development.

To put it lightly, that kind of thing ain’t gonna be popular in the Republican Promised Land of Douglas County.



OUTRAGE: Colorado Leaders Furious Over Hickenlooper’s Coward’s Clemency Of Dunlap

Outrage is the only way to describe the reaction of many of Colorado’s leaders today over Governor Hickenlooper’s cowardly decision to issue a reprieve to mass murderer Nathan Dunlap via executive order.

From victims’ families to the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police to the District Attorney charged with convicting the Aurora shooter, many people involved in the Dunlap case were furious with Hickenlooper’s half-assed decision.

Below is a round-up of initial reaction:


GOLD DOME DECREE: Winners Of The 2013 Legislative Session

Welcome to the third annual Colorado Peak Politics legislative awards where we honor the winners, losers and those that neither won nor lost, sometimes maddeningly so. Or, as we have dubbed them in years past — sister kissers.

The session itself was a stone cold loser for the people of Colorado, with gun rights greatly diminished, rural electric rates set to rise and a looming billion dollar tax hike endorsed by every Democrat under the Gold Dome.

It was, in the words of The Durango Herald‘s Joe Hanel, “one of the most liberal ever.”

Without further ado, here are the folks who came out ahead by Sine Die.



PeakFeed: 8 Photos of Colorado Golden Girl Missy Franklin Visiting The Capitol

Colorado’s own Olympic hero and swimming sensation, Missy Franklin, stopped by the Capitol today to visit with lawmakers.

Here are 7 8 photos with Missy and some schlubs down at the Legislature.

Missy and the AP’s Ivan Moreno (with requisite Rep. McNulty photo bomb)

Minority Leader Waller looks confused.



TONE DEAF: Boulder Liberal Representative Says Dems Have Votes To Abolish Death Penalty, A Move 68% Of Coloradans Oppose

In an article in Denver Westword this morning, House Democrat Speaker Pro Tempore Claire Levy claims the Democrats likely have the votes to overturn the death penalty, despite a recent poll showing 68% of Coloradans oppose the move.

Unfortunately, the Westword reporter didn’t ask Levy why she would push a bill so heavily opposed by the people of Colorado. Here’s what Westword‘s Sam Levin did report:

Before Representative Claire Levy proposes legislation to repeal the death penalty in Colorado, she wants to be sure that it can pass.

And after more discussions with her fellow lawmakers on the topic, she says it seems like the momentum is right to get rid of the death penalty — even if one of her Democratic colleagues is adamantly opposed to the move.

“I can’t say with certainty…but I’m getting more confident,” Levy says. “Those of us who are sponsoring it want to be sure we are going to be able to pass it before we introduce it. We are getting in confident in that.”

The Democratic colleague referenced above is Rep. Rhonda Fields, whose son and fiance were gunned down after her son agreed to testify in a murder trial. His killer is on death row.

The optics of this debate couldn’t possibly be worse for Democrats, but with control of both chambers at the Capitol, it seems somewhat likely that the bill will reach the Governor’s desk. Knowing that Governor Hickenlooper is hyper-sensitive to polling, here’s a brief breakdown of what Coloradans said in a recent poll by the Tarrance Group — a highly respected Republican polling firm.

Per a Colorado Observer scoop:



RING THE ALARM: Trouble For Democrats In HD61 As Dem-Turned-Indy Kathleen Curry Makes The Ballot

House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino's bid for the Speaker's gavel just got harder.

In HD61, former State House Democrat Kathleen Curry, who ditched the Democrats and went independent, made the ballot Tim Hoover reports:

Former state Rep. Kathleen Curry of Gunnison, who famously bolted from the Democratic party in 2009 to become unaffiliated, has made the ballot for House District 61, a seat that sprawls across several mountain counties, as an unaffiliated candidate.  

Curry needed the valid signatures of 400 voters to petition her way onto the November ballot, and Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s office notified her she had 442 signatures.  

Curry, who’d been elected three times to the legislature as a Democrat before leaving the party, was unable to run as an unaffiliated candidate in 2010 because she had not changed her registration soon enough and instead ran unsuccessfully as a write-in candidate.

This could spell doom for Democrats, as it could allow the Republican candidate Debra Irvine to win a plurality of the vote with Curry and Rep. Millie Hamner (D-Dillon) splitting the liberal vote. 

With the battle for control of the Gold Dome likely to come down to only a few races, Ferrandino's dreams of the majority just got a bit blurrier.

Sources say Democrats are looking at ways to knock Curry off the ballot. A supporter that it claims to be of ballot access, the Colorado Democratic Party has had no problem trying to keep candidates off the ballot this cycle already.

It's no wonder Ferrandino et al fear Curry, as she nearly beat the Democratic candidate in 2010 as a write-in candidate.  

The district has changed, diminishing Curry's name-ID advantage somewhat, but the base of the district is still very much Curry's old stomping grounds and chances are nobody in Gunnison County has ever heard of Millie Hamner. In fact, very few people anywhere have probably heard of Millie Hamner, as she was appointed to the seat after the incumbent, Christine Scanlan, was appointed as Hickenlooper's legislative lobbyist. 

The fact that Curry lost by only 300 votes to the Democrat in 2010 as a write-in means she will be a potent electoral force.

A race that once didn't keep Ferrandino up at night, suddenly looks like it will become a cash suck. Three-way races are complicated and complex, a far cry from one-on-one in a liberal-leaning ski district. Far costlier too.

What's also got to worry the Minority Leader is if Curry won, would she end up caucusing with Frank McNulty and Amy Stephens?

If Ferrandino's party tries to get Curry knocked off the ballot and she wins, how much do you think she'll want to return the favor?


UPDATE: Legislators Share Their Holiday Plans

Yesterday, we asked select Colorado legislators to reveal their plans for the Fourth of July. Below are a few of their responses.

Speaker Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch)


This Highlands Ranch legislator tells us that he will be at – where else - the Highlands Ranch Independence Day Parade and Community Festival – keep an eye out for him! 


Sen. Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora)

Senator Morgan Carroll tells us that she will be walking in the Byers Fourth of July Parade and stopping by the Aurora Fourth of the July Celebration.  No word on where the monkey might be.


Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray)

"My crazy 10 year-old decided he wanted to do a triathlon.  Lo and behold, there is one in Wray tomorrow, so I'm watching him do his first ever Tri.  And while I'm here, I will do the bike leg with some friends, Karla and Doreen.  I wanted to name our team Two Hot Chicks and a Dork, but they wouldn't let me.  I'm missing the 4th of July parade in Brush! for just the second time in 12 years."  Following the triathlon, Brophy will be BBQing and reading the Declaration of Independence. Sounds like a very full – and exhausting – Fourth. 

Rep. Claire Levy (D-Boulder)

Rep. Levy says, "I will be joining Democrats in Clear Creek Party for the 4th of July Parade in Georgetown. They have a fun parade and then a barbecue in city park with an old fashioned brass band. I'm going to try to make it to the Gold Hill pancake breakfast first to support the Gold Hill Fire Department. The early birds get homemade rhubarb sauce for their pancakes. After Georgetown, I will help a friend in the mountains clear pine needles away from his house to reduce the fire danger. Everyone who lives in the WUI (wildland urban interface) should take a fresh look at their home and property to check for fuel build up and other fire risks." Good idea.

Thanks ladies and gents for keeping us posted! 

Of course, we didn't hear back from Rep. Sal Pace, Rep. Joe Miklosi, or Sen. Brandon Shaffer, so we've created imaginary itineraries for these very busy politicians for today.

Rep. Sal Pace (D-Urination)

Pace (D-Urination) is under close campaign supervision to keep his family jewels under lock and key. (wink)  A suggestion to the poor staffer tasked with babysitting – waterproof shoes and a poncho?



Rep. Joe Miklosi (D-Hells Angels)

We imagine that Joe Miklosi is looking set for a rowdy weekend with the Hells Angels, who want to repay him for running their Hells Angels Protection Act of 2012, legislation that would offer them protection against discrimination for wearing black leather outside in 105 degree heat.  It's unclear whether the legislation also protects against the body odor that's sure to ensue. 


Sen. Brandon Shaffer (D-Screwed)

Oh, poor Sen. Shaffer.  We imagine he's drowning his sorrows at the bottom of the bottle, looking back to the last July 4 when he announced — oh, to be young again and have CD4 be actually winnable (until Pat Stryker shivved him in the back during redistricting). Note: For all you sensitive types out there, we are not suggesting that Sen. Shaffer has a drinking problem, but we are admitting that's probably what we'd do.

All kidding aside, we send our thoughts and prayers to Sen. Steadman as he just found out that his partner has pancreatic cancer and to Rep. Casso as he comforts his children following the death of their mother, as reported by Lynn Bartels.

UPDATE: More legislators share plans

Rep. Amy Stephens (R-Castle Rock)

"My husband and I had a long-planned 4th of July vacation with his family in Alabama – so we have gone completely Southern testing BBQ while we are here. I feel like Paula Dean – we had Dreamland BBQ with fantastic sauce and a good banana pudding. We had amazing pimento cheese grits with shrimp and collard greens! We are testing a new BBQ today that includes cheese biscuts for the 4th and then going to the riverfront to see fireworks and perhaps a baseball game with the Montgomery 'Biscuts' baseball team. I hate to think about all the time on the treadmill I'll have to do to work off this vacation! Happy 4th and God Bless America."

Rep. Nancy Todd (D-Aurora)

"We are celebrating our black lab, KJ's, 13th b-day, from eggs for breakfast to ice cream and carrots in the afternoon. It's too hot to be outside long so air conditioning is preferred location. She is the best lab recycler in Colorado!"

Rep. Cindy Acree (R-Aurora)

"Our family spent the Fourth of July at community events in Mission Viejo, Shenandoah and Smoky Hill neighborhoods. We visited with friends and constituents and celebrated my granddaughter's first birthday. I visited with Aurora firefighters and thanked them for their service and participation in fighting the fires that have consumed our state. Please keep them in your prayers.  They too are on the front lines."

Rep. Mark Waller (R-Colorado Springs) 

"We had a nice day at home grilling with family and friends.  Our day was capped off with a Sky Sox baseball game.  The highlight of the day was getting to throw out the first pitch while having my son Truman on the field with me."

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July! 


A SOCIAL ISSUE? Denver Post Editorial Board Hits McNulty For “Divisive Social Issue” Of…Obamacare

In an editorial that in some states would qualify as an assault and battery of House Speaker Frank McNulty, The Denver Post accuses legislative Republicans of being just as focused on social issues as are legislative Democrats, who have spent the last several days attacking McNulty and the GOP for killing civil unions legislation.  

But in its editorial, The Denver Post chose a strange example of extraneous social issues to attach to the GOP: repealing Obamacare.  

From the Post:

Unable to offer a straightforward defense, McNulty conjured a laughable explanation that tried to shift the blame to the Democratic governor and a "divisive social agenda."  

"This is Gov. Hickenlooper's special session that he called for the purpose of passing same-sex marriage," McNulty said. "From our perspective, our side is focused on job creation and economic recovery."  

That argument conveniently forgets the divisive issues raised by his party. The first debate of this year's session was on a hopeless resolution calling for a constitutional convention — the last one was held in 1787 — to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare." Then there were debates on gun rights; a bill that called for drug testing of welfare moms; a measure calling for the federal government to sell land; and the centerpiece of job creation: criminalizing "unlawful termination of a pregnancy." [Peak emphasis]

Now we know it for certain, the Post is off the rails. Repealing Obamacare is not a social issue, in the "guns, God, and Gays" mold (to use the common refrain). It is not some marginal fantasy of an issue contrived by House Republicans either.  

It was the Number One issue of the 2010 election. We all remember former Congresswoman Betsy Markey, correct? The reason she is not in Congress today is because she got on the wrong side of the "social issue" known as Obamacare.  

This is where the story gets interesting.

Today, The Weekly Standard is reporting that President Barry Obama is dangerously close to losing the Arkansas Democratic primary to a random guy who, until about 12 hours ago, was about as well known as any name in the phone book in Backwardsville, Arkansas. And what is Obama's Democratic primary opponent running on, you wonder?  

Wolfe also said he supports repealing the president's signature legislation, Obamacare, which he says doesn’t lower health care costs even if the White House claims otherwise.

“I don’t think it’s right in principle to force people to buy from monopolies,” Wolfe said. “The thing about Obamacare is it’s the best thing for the stock prices of insurance companies.” Wolfe added that he supports a single-payer health care system because it will be more cost effective.

Why none other than the repeal of Obamacare, that waste-of-time tangent and social issue that Frank McNulty and House Republicans wasted their time on this year.  

If repealing Obamacare is a social issue, then Barack Obama's next political job will be Mayor of Little Rock.

Repeal of Obamacare is a genuine concern to a significant portion of the electorate, those who live in Colorado and apparently those who vote in Democrat primaries in Arkansas.


“REPORTER”: Pueblo Chieftain Political Beat Writer Asks Speaker If He Is Okay With Being A “Bigot”

Last night, the political reporter for the Pueblo Chieftain, Patrick Malone, forgot his job for a minute and suddenly thought he was an activist or an editorial writer, not a reporter. In crossing the line, Malone asked Speaker Frank McNulty, who blocked the civil unions bill, if he was "concerned at all that this seals your legacy as a bigot"?

We get it. You support civil unions. That's fine. But so what: do your bloody job. You're a journalist, not an Op-Ed writer. 

Malone didn't even couch the question as asking McNulty to respond to critics who called him a bigot. He straight up said blocking this bill makes you a bigot, does that bother you?

Civil unions, and gay rights more generally, is a "tender and sensitive" issue as Mitt Romney has said. Due to its emotionally charged nature, reporters need to be careful in how they address the issue. Malone, in this case, threw caution to the wind and, along with it, his responsibility as a reporter to be objective and fair. 

When Senate President Brandon Shaffer filibustered his own redistricting bill last year, did Malone ask him if he's concerned his actions would seal his legacy as an enemy of the Colorado constitution? After all, redistricting is one of the few responsibilities for the Legislature laid out in the state constitution and Shaffer was directly dodging that responsibility.

No, Malone didn't ask that.

While we would have loved to see Malone ask Shaffer that question, it wouldn't have been appropriate. Reporters aren't supposed to ask loaded questions.

And in this case, Malone did just that. Let it be a cautionary tale to other reporters. 

(Photo via Malone's Twitter account)

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