Archive for the 'Colorado State Legislature' Category

Coffman, Doty, Woods offer reporters localized election-night Trump material

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Doty Tweets from Trump Rally 10-16The story of Trump’s impact on down-ballot races Colorado is unfolding in front of us in the strangest ways, with Colorado Republicans going every which way when it comes to the mogul.

A unique approach to Trump has been taken by Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Doty, who’s running against Democrat Daniel Kagan in a Cherry Hills state-state race that Democrats must win to take control of the chamber.

Doty said in June that she’d support Trump, and later called Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Trump “spot on.”

But then she told the Aurora Sentinel last month that her vote is a “private decision.” The Denver Post reported most Oct. 23 that Doty’s not commenting on Trump.

But lo, Doty tweeted a photo Saturday from her apparent appearance at the Trump rally in Golden, without comment, as if to say, “Look! I’m still voting for Trump, but a secret is a secret.”

But in any case, on election night, reporters should reflect on what’s worked Trump-wise for Colorado Republicans in tight races. The Doty approach?

State Sen. Laura Woods’ I-Believe-Trump-Will-“Lead-our-Country-to-Greatness-Once-Again” strategy.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s strategery of dodge trump (December), then yes Trump (February), then maybe Trump (May and August), then no Trump (October). And possibly no one (October).

We’ll never know Trump’s exact impact in Colorado’s down-ballot races, but that shouldn’t stop reporters from having fun trying to figure it out anyway on Tuesday night, using our abundant local material.

Best local journalism of the 2016 election season

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Here are my favorite election stories by local journalists:

Denver 7’s Marshall Zelinger of course gets the top prize in both the journalism and entertainment categories. His series of stories showing forged signatures on the ballot-access petitions of former GOP state Rep. Jon Keyser had a game-changing impact on Colorado’s U.S. Senate race and reflected everything you want from journalism, especially at a time when it’s going to the dogs. (Don’t miss your chance to see Zelinger’s Keyser interview again here.)

Without the state-senate campaign coverage by Marianne Goodland at the Colorado Independent and Ernest Luning and John Tomasic at the Colorado Statesman, we would’ve had little reporting—until the final weeks—on the key state senate races that will determine control of Colorado government. Other outlets weighed late, which is great, but these races were so pivotal and important to the entire state this year, they deserved the early and sustained focus they got only from the Statesman and the Independent.

Luning also exposed a Democratic state legislative candidate who basically made up his entire resume and was later defeated in his primary race. In a similar vein, Goodland’s piece revealing the potential jail time faced by state house candidate Tim Leonard also deserves high praise. So does former Post reporter Joey Bunch’s treatment of Darryl Glenn’s legal troubles as a young man.

Denver Post reporter John Frank’s series of inside-view articles on the revolt by Colorado Republicans against Trump at the GOP National Convention informed the national debate on the growing #NeverTrump and plain-old anti-Trump movement among Republicans.  (Frank’s prodigious output generally also deserves mention.)

The Denver media’s political-ad fact-checkers have my eternal admiration because their job is tedious and difficult but really valuable. So, a shout out to Denver 7’s Alan Gathright, The Denver Post, 9News’ Brandon Rittiman, and  CBS 4’s Shaun Boyd. Reporters, like the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby, who dip into this territory, deserve credit too.

She got ribbed by fellow reporters for burying the lede, but former CO Springs Gazette reporter Megan Schrader gets credit for reporting U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s off-the-cuff comment that he planned to vote for Trump after all. The story generated national buzz and shows what’s lost as we shed campaign-trail journalism.

The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins’ story about anonymous campaign flyers may later play a role, in a small way, in a legislative fix that all sides would welcome.

I thought the debates moderated by 9News’ Kyle Clark and Brandon Rittiman were particularly informative.

It’s the little things that can make politics fun, so hats off to Molly Morrison at KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs for revealing that Trump was rescued by the Springs’ Fire Department after the head-strong mogul had insulted the Springs’ fire marshal. Nice.

Kudos to 9News‘ Rittiman and Denver’s 7‘s Zelinger for asking U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, after he released an ad critical of Trump in August, who he’d vote for. The fallout from his response—that Coffman would still consider voting for Trump or for the Libertarian candidate–got national coverage. And it t turned out to be a harbinger of Coffman’s troubles later, as he’s tried to both support and oppose Trump at the same time, ultimately opposing Trump. We all love it when journalists follow up beyond the canned statements and ads.

Finally, can you beat the editorials in the Aurora Sentinel? No. Even if you like U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), you still have to love the writing in the Sentinel’s endorsement of his Democratic opponent Morgan Carroll, as well as the fire in its other editorials on any political topic.

FACT CHECK: Woods’ introduction of Trump

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Colorado State Sen. Laura Woods, who’s battling Democrat Rachel Zenzinger in a critical state senate race, introduced GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Golden Saturday.

Below is a partial transcript of Woods’ comments. Woods, who’s long supported Trump, got the most media attention for leading the chant of, “Lock her up,” referring of course to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. But reporters should have flagged other falsehoods in the speech. To fill the gap, I’ve done so below.

Laura Woods: Good morning everyone. Good morning patriots.

I was supposed to come up and say something I forget. Why don’t we just state with, Lock her up!

[Crowd chants “Lock her up.”

Thank you very much. You just got all the jitters out of my stomach. So I appreciate that.

Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat or an unaffiliated voter you attendance today at this rally proves you are a proud American who believes this country can be made great again.

As Don mentioned, I am State Sen. Laura Woods from Jefferson County. I have served Arvada and Westminster in the state senate for two sessions. I am now running for my last four-year term. I am a native of Colorado.

I am a proud American, and I am a patriot to the core. I love this country, and I love our state, but I too am very worried.

I am worried because for decades we Americans have watched the media and the political elite and the corrupt media drive an agenda across our nation and into our schools and down throats [FACT CHECK: “Corrupt media” is a tough accusation to support, but it’s her opinion.]

As conservatives, as patriots, we have been choking on that agenda for decades. Hillary Clinton has made millions while in government selling access to foreigners, to corporations, and to others, while hard-working people like you and I want to make an honest living. [FACT CHECK: There’s no evidence that Clinton “made millions” by selling access.]

Hillary broke the law so she could hide her emails, and lied to us again and again, and again yesterday. [FACT CHECK: Hillary has not been convicted of breaking any law.]

We are people who believe no one should be above the law. Hillary and her team have actually paid people to attack people at rallies just like this one.  We are peaceful Americans holding peaceful rallies. [FACT CHECK: Clinton has not been shown to have paid anyone to disrupt Trump.]

Hillary Clinton allowed four people to die in Benghazi. [FACT CHECK: This is not true.]

Hillary Clinton and her campaign have had private meetings with dozens of reporters, and she’s been given the questions in advance, while this same media attacks us at every turn. We just want the media to report the truth. [FACT CHECK: Reporters, overall, treat both sides the same way.]

And if that’s not enough, Hillary Clinton is on record saying she wants open borders. Who cares what the rest of Americans think.  We Americans want safe neighborhoods. We want safe cities. [FACT CHECK: Clinton does not advocate an open-border immigration policy.]

Hillary Clinton has called Americans a basket full of deplorables, but she hates people of faith and she demands that we change our beliefs while we as Americans go about loving our neighbors and loving our country. [FACT CHECK: It’s not supportable to say Hillary hates people of faith, or that she demands anyone to change his or her faith, but this is Woods’ opinion.]

Hillary Clinton and her team are scheming to steal this election, while we are citizens who believe in a fair political process, and we want our votes to count. [FACT CHECK: There’s no evidence that Clinton is trying to perpetrate election fraud.]

Hillary Clinton has been in the center of the swamp, as Donald Trump says, for decades. You guys are great.

So folks, we can change the course of our country. We can stop those elites who are wanting to control us. We can stand up to corruption. You and I can help drain the swamp.

In fact, we have to be the ones to do it. We are the ones to do it.

I am a Donald Trump supporter not just because he’s the Republican candidate but because I believe he will lead our country to greatness once again. I believe he will make America safe again.  I believe he will put you and your family, as citizens of this great country, first again. I believe he will support our military and our law enforcement and I believe he will put Americans back to work again by creating jobs. Donald Trump is a business man who’s created thousands of jobs. And he’ll bring a common-sense business approach to government. Now there is a fresh idea.

So folks if this list of horribles about Hillary Clinton doesn’t convince you of the importance of this election, I can’t imagine what will. ….

Colorado Republicans join Trump in leveling disproven allegation of “widespread” election fraud

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

woods-likes-voter-meme-alleging-voter-fraudJohn Sampson, a former Republican state senate candidate who resigned this month from his position as Adams County GOP vice chair, agrees with Donald Trump that Democrats and others in the United States “rig elections and engage in systemic and widespread voter and election fraud.”

Sampson, who made the comments on Facebook Tues., is apparently joined by State Senator Laura Woods (R-Arvada), who liked a Facebook meme last weekend titled, “Breaking News: Fox News Is Reporting Widespread Voter Fraud, Obama Says It’s Dangerous to Report It.”

During her introduction of Trump during a campaign stop in Golden Saturday, Woods said Democrats are trying to rig the election.

Woods: “Hillary Clinton and her team are scheming to steal this election,” said Woods, without citing any evidence, “while we are citizens who believe in a fair political process, and we want our votes to count.”

Woods, who’s battling Democrat Rachel Zenzinger in a key Arvada/Westminster legislative race, said Trump will “lead our country to greatness once again” Woods has stood firmly behind Trump throughout the ups and downs of the mogul’s campaign, saying she’ll likely lose of Trump loses her district.

When he took the stage after Woods, Trump warned Colorado’s election officials, including its county clerks, who run the state’s elections and are mostly Republicans, that they’re being monitored.

““We have a lot of people watching you people that collect the ballots,” said Trump, as quoted in The Denver Post, adding he has “real problems” with Colorado’s mail-in ballot process.

In the wake of Trump’s repeated accusations about rigged elections, multiple media outlets have concluded, based on previous exhaustive studies, that voter fraud is a non-issue in the U.S., incluidng, of course, Colorado.

Asked if his concerns about election fraud extend to Adams County, Sampson told me Friday he doesn’t think Stan Martin, the Republican County Clerk and Recorder there, is perpetrating fraud.

Still, Sampson says there a “potential for fraud” due to problems with mail-in ballots, Diebold voting machines, and ineligible voters.

Another early Trump Supporter in Colorado, congressional candidate George Athanasopoulous, has been outspoken about his concern about voter fraud, echoing the allegations from Trump and Woods.

Sampson on Facebook: When Donald Trump refused to answer Chris Wallace’s question as to whether or not he would accept the results of the election, Clinton, the DNC, and the usual list of suspects (an appropriate description if there was ever one), went apoplectic.

They decried his response, stating that Trump needed to accept the voice of the people, bow to the will of the people, and accept their, repeat THEIR, decision.

Really? Are you sure? If so, then can someone please tell me why the Democrats, Clinton, and the usual list of suspects (again, appropriate), feel the need to rig elections and engage in systemic and widespread voter and election fraud?

I mean, if they truly accepted the will of the people, accepted THEIR votes, then there would be no need to rig elections now, would there? But that is the problem. The DNC, Democrats, Clinton, and the usual list of suspects are abject hypocrites.

They rig elections and engage in systemic and widespread voter and election fraud because they DON’T, repeat DON’T, trust the American voter and don’t think the American voter will vote for them simply based on their positions on the issues. In short, they do not, will not, and never will, accept the will of the American voter nor will they honor the “Everyday American’s” decision. For they believe the great unwashed are too stupid to be trusted.

It’s simply a matter of trust. We’re not trusted, nor respected by The Clintons, The Democrats, The DNC, and The Usual List of Suspects (which includes Wall Street, The Media, Hollywood, and the Pollsters).They arrogantly believe they are “Oh So Superior” to us and we are simply backward children that need to be taken care of.

The only way Socialism and Communism flourish is when elections are corrupted and the will of the people is thwarted. They have to rig elections in order to achieve and remain in power. Left to the will of the people, Socialism and Communism cannot flourish.

Donald Trump hit the nail right on the head when he said the system is rigged. It has been for decades. We’re just finally waking up to that fact. I just hope we didn’t wake up too late and didn’t hit the snooze button one too many times.

 

Woods likes Facebook post accusing Obama of treason

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

woods-likes-comment-accusing-obama-of-treasonState Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada) has apparently liked a Facebook post accusing President Obama of treason.

In a Facebook discussion Oct. 23, Woods liked this comment, which was provided by a source:

“I’ll tell you what is dangerous. Having a lying, treasonous President! Obama illegally takes millions of US taxpayer dollars, ‘launder’ them into Swiss francs, and ships them to Iran…. That in turn gives the money to ISIS to kill Americans. That used to be called TREASON!”

Woods, who does not return my calls to discuss posts like this, makes no secret of her ultra-conservative beliefs, leading The Denver Post to label her as “one of the most conservative lawmakers in the chamber.”

She’s stood by her conservative positions, despite having to defend her record in one of Colorado’s most competitive state senate districts, where she faces Democrat Rachel Zenzinger.

But aligning herself with those who accuse Obama of treason? A reporter who has access to Woods should find out what’s up. It brings up basic questions about her judgment that should be answered before Colorado’s most important state senate race is decided.

 

Key state senate race starting to get media attention but more is needed

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

With a few of our more bigger badder news outlets (CPR, Denver Post, Fox 31 Denver, and KMGH-TV Denver 7) finally getting around to covering Arvada’s state senate race, which is the most important contest this election, the simple point should be made: follow-up stories are needed.

The candidates, Republican Laura Woods and Democrat Rachel Zenzinger, aren’t being challenged sufficiently on their stances on the issues (See some of their positions, on abortion to guns, here) or on the politics of the race. Some outlets have returned to the races a few times in coverage, which is good, but more attention is required. Some of our state’s most prestigious news entities have essentially dropped the ball on the race.

I’m not saying Aurora’s congressional race, our ballot measures, or other races aren’t important too, but if political journalists want to help voters understand what’s at stake this election cycle, they should turn their attention repeatedly to Senate District 19—and, to a lesser extent, other key state senate races.

Here’s a video to emphasize the point.

Where the candidates in Colorado’s most important race stand on specific issues

Monday, October 24th, 2016

In a welcome Denver Post piece Sunday about the most important election contests in Colorado—the under-the-radar races that will likely determine if Democrats take control of the state senate—State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada/Westminster) is referred to as “one of the most conservative lawmakers in the chamber.”

The Post article links to Post reporter John Frank’s detailed analysis of legislative votes showing how Woods, during her first year in office, voted with seven other GOP state senators on the far right fringe of the GOP, mirroring the marginalized votes of extreme Republicans in the U.S. Congress.

The linked article matters a lot, because Woods faces Democrat Rachel Zenzinger in an Arvada/Westminster race that’s a tossup going into the final two weeks, so voters should know what’s what with these two candidates.

Here’s a few more details on the candidates stands, retrieved from various sources.

Abortion

Woods wants to pass a personhood abortion ban, making all abortion illegal, even after rape or incest.

Zenzinger is pro-choice, favoring the option of abortion for women.

Guns

Woods opposes criminal background checks for gun purchases at gun shows and elsewhere, and she wants citizens to be allowed to openly carry a gun in public.

Zenzinger backs laws requiring criminal background checks prior to gun purchases, and she opposes open carry.

Education

Woods backs vouchers, allowing parents to use public tax dollars to pay for private schools for their kids. (And Woods has been endorsed backed by ousted Jeffco school board member Julie Williams.)

Zenzinger opposes vouchers.

Planned Parenthood

Woods proposes de-funding Planned Parenthood, forcing the organization to turn away about 1,000 patients in Arvada.

Zenzinger supports federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

Teen pregnancy

Woods voted against a successful teen-pregnancy prevention program.

Zenzinger backs the teen pregnancy prevention measure.

Same-sex marriage.

Woods opposes same-sex marriage.

Zenzinger supports it.

 

Woods apparently thinks twice about thanking Democrats

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Woods deleted Facebook postRepublican State Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada has removed a post from her Facebook page, in which she thanked alleged “supporters from the Democrat Party.”

It appears that Woods was referring to members of a Facebook group called, “Democrats for Senator Laura Woods,” who joined with Woods at a parade last month. “It was awesome to have you there,” Woods wrote on Facebook.

As I posted last week, none of the group’s members have been shown to actually live in Woods’ district and so they cannot vote for her, with one member registered to vote as far away as Boone, North Carolina.

Another group member, pictured on the site, was registered as a Republican, until asked about his voter registration last week, at which time he registered as a Democrat, saying it was a mistake.

Woods did not return a call seeking an explanation for removing the post.

In addition to possible concerns about the group’s members who can’t vote for her, Woods may worry that promoting Democrats on her site would turn away Trump supporters, whom she says are a key part of her path to victory in her district.

Woods, who’s long supported Trump and forgives him for his lewd comments, told a Denver radio station last week:

“I think if Donald Trump wins my district, I’m likely to,” Woods said on air. “And if Hillary Clinton wins my district, my opponent is likely to win.”

 

After saying she’d vote for Trump, Doty now tells Aurora Sentinel her vote is a “private decision”

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

While some Republicans who once supported Trump are now backing off, Colorado state senate candidate Nancy Doty, who previously said she’d vote for the GOP presidential nominee, is now refusing to reveal whom she will vote for, saying she considers “everyone’s vote to be a private decision.”

Doty’s latest position was reported by Brandon Johansson at the Aurora Sentinel, which published Doty’s answer to the question, “Will you vote for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or someone else?”

Doty’s response: Yes. I consider my vote private and everyone’s vote to be a private decision.

In June, Doty was out-of-the-closet with her voting preferences, as reported by Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Independent:

On her presidential preference, Doty said she will support the Republican nominee, although Donald Trump was not her first choice. She initially backed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Then, in July, she said Sarah Palin’s Denver speech, in which Palin raved about Trump, was “spot on,” confirming that Doty herself still planned to vote for Trump.

So why the sudden silence on her prez pick? Both the Aurora Sentinel and the Colorado Independent should call her and find out what’s up–and set the record straight for their readers. (Doty did not return my call seeking an explanation, and she’s ignored queries from others on other issues.)

What led Doty, who faces Democratic Rep. Daniel Kagan in hotly contested SD 26, to first be open about her voting preference and then settle on the belief that “everyone’s vote” should be a “private decision?”

Who knows? Maybe Trump’s antics have something to do with it, but the inconsistency deserves to be exposed and explained.

Talk radio host shows how badly we need journalists to focus on key state senate race

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

With Colorado’s largest media outlets (TV and print) mostly AWOL when it comes to covering the most important race in the state this election season, we’re left to talk radio hosts, bloggers, and other shoe-string entities to offer voters the basic information they need to vote and understand what’s at stake Nov. 8.

So, how’s that working out? Not well.

Case in point, Republican State Sen. Laura Woods’ appearance this morning on KHOW 630-AM’s Ross Kaminsky show.

Kaminsky is smart enough to know that the Woods’ Arvada race against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger is probably the most important election contest in Colorado, with control of state government likely riding on the outcome. Yet, he sits silent or cheerleads as she makes outrageous statements, without offering context or fact-checking.

At one point, for example, Woods made the off-the-moon claim that her opponents who criticize her for forgiving Donald Trump for lewd comments are attacking Woods’ religious freedom. Woods is a longstanding Trump supporter.

“I’m being called out because I’ve chosen to forgive Donald Trump’s comments [about sexually assaulting women] and support him continually,” Woods told a loving Kaminsky. “So, that’s an attack on religious freedom.”

How’s that work? If you’re against Trump and his offensive bravado, you’re against religious freedom?

Kaminsky, who talked at length about attacks on Woods and spending on the Arvada race without mentioning Woods’ record on public lands or her moneyed backers, asked Woods what would happen if she lost her seat.

Woods said, under Democrats, “oil and gas and mining in our state shut down, those people put out of work.”  Shut down!

“[Democrats] are going to tell parents, you know, they have to vaccinate all of their children,” Woods continued on air.

How could Kaminsky have let this fly into his ears without words of horror coming out of his mouth?

Woods is known to be against basic public health protections when it comes to vaccinations. She wants to make it easier for parents to forgo vaccinating their kids—putting public health at risk. Voters need to know about where she stands.

Woods bragged about helping a couple get Medicaid health-care benefits, and Kaminsky failed to ask Woods how Woods’ story squares with her efforts to cut Medicaid health-care for the poor in Colorado.

Woods concluded the interview by calling Bill Clinton “a rapist,” to which Kaminsky responded not by pointing out the falsehood but instead with, “pretty courageous of you to say so, as someone running for office.”

“I wish you all the best,” concluded Kaminsky, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment. “And happy to have you back on the show anytime. Thanks again for everything you do for us in the state senate.”