Far be it for us to ever say something nice about a Democrat, but House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino does know a thing or two about Colorado's budget. What he doesn't have is the leadership mojo of his House Democrats. What started as a seemingly smooth transition when Sal Pace (D-Urination) resigned his leadership post to focus on his Don Quixote-esque run for Congress has turned into a night of long swords for Ferrandino.
Say what you want about the per diem increase, but one thing is certain, it's been a real headache for Ferrandino, and his caucus has used this as an opportunity to stick a knife in the back of their new leader and throw him straight under the bus.
It started innocently enough with Ed Vigil popping off against Ferrandino's move on per diem, but has grown into all-out warfare in the Democrat caucus with Sal Pace and Ferrandino's appointee to the JBC, Boulder Rep. Claire Levy, piling on.
"There was a declaration by some members of the Joint Budget Committee that we could not afford any salary increases, not even for our lowest-paid employees," Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder told The Denver Post. "I thought it was inconsistent to increase per diem, which effectively is an increase in pay."
It’s not everyday you see Democrats bashing bills backed by their legislative bosses.
Not only are Democrats bashing the bill backed by the Democrat's House Minority Leader and the Democrat's Senate Majority Leader, but Governor Hickenlooper is throwing some little-used political capital behind the per diem increase, pitting the Democrats’ rank and file against the three highest ranking Democrats in state government.
Based on the recent public infighting this much is fair. The House Democrats are in disarray and Ferrandino has lost control.
The fun part for us at the Peak over this whole situation has been watching Democrat PR shop Colorado Pols froth at the mouth, while the real powers that be in the Democrat Party ignore their "advice." Pols thought they had a great situation to bludgeon Republicans over spending, only to watch the situation turn into a public House Democrat mutiny against Ferrandino and see Governor Hickenlooper weigh in against them.
With political unity like that, it could be a tough election year for Democrats.
(Photo Credit: Colorado News Agency)