Archive for the 'Colorado U.S. Senate' Category

Republican Senate candidate not Buckpedaling on abortion

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

“My name is Tim Neville, and I’m THE pro-Life candidate running for the nomination to take on and defeat Democrat Michael Bennet in November 2016.”

That’s how Neville, who’s considered the frontrunner in the GOP Senate primary, describes himself in a recent fundraising email.

And judging from the letter (excerpt below), it’s hard to imagine there’s a more anti-choice candidate anywhere on the planet.

Neville even confirms that the Live at Conception Act is a personhood bill, something Sen. Cory Gardner was willfully confused about.

In contrast to Gardner, who was obviously worried women would revolt against his history of Neville-like positions on abortion, Neville brags that “politicians in both parties” opposed his bill that would have “forced abortion providers to offer women the opportunity to see an ultrasound, saving thousands of babies in the process.” (Translation: women would be required to have an ultrasound prior to having an abortion.)

We know Republicans in Colorado like to modify their abortion positions once they face a general-election audience. See, for example, Gardner, Rep. Mike Coffman, Bob Beauprez, Rep. Ken “Buckpedal” Buck.

But unlike those guys, you get the feeling that Neville really  believes he can win over both primary and general election voters by being himself, regardless of the issue. That will set him apart from recent state-wide Republican candidates. And it will make things interesting.

Excerpt from Neville Nov. 16 fundraising email:

…And if the good folks in Colorado send me to Washington, I WILL BE the abortion lobby’s #1 enemy — and I’ll wear that label with a badge of honor.

If elected to the U.S. Senate, I will END ALL taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood and abortion providers.

I’m not afraid of the powerful abortion lobby.

During my time in the State Senate, I’ve led the fight to protect innocent unborn children.

I sponsored “The Women’s RIGHT Act” (SB 15-285), which would require abortion clinics to offer women the opportunity to see an ultrasound before murdering an innocent baby.

Studies show that 90% of women who see an ultrasound change their mind about having an abortion and instead choose life.

The baby butchers at Planned Parenthood often mislead women and tell them that their babies are already dead in the womb and that they need an immediate abortion — refusing to show them an ultrasound.

My bill would have forced abortion providers to offer women the opportunity to see an ultrasound, saving thousands of babies in the process. Unfortunately, politicians in both parties teamed up to kill my bill.

I also sponsored “The Women’s Health Protection Act” (HB 15-1128), which would require abortion clinics to adhere to the same medical standards as all other “medical” facilities in Colorado do.

Currently in Colorado, there’s not a single medical standard that abortion clinics must adhere to.

In fact, some of the most disgusting videos of Planned Parenthood murdering, cutting to pieces and selling unborn baby parts were filmed right here in Denver, Colorado, in one of Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics!

My bill would have exposed Planned Parenthood’s illegal selling of murdered baby body parts.

Because of my dedication to fighting to protect unborn children, I received the Colorado Campaign for Life’s Guardian Legislator of the Year Award.

Of course, my ultimate goal is to ENDING the practice of abortion in America once and for all.

But I will vote and fight for any bill or legislation that limits and slows down the murder of unborn children.

If you want a pro-Life champion in the U.S. Senate, can I count on you to sign your “Pro-Life” petition right away and let the abortion lobby know we mean business about ending abortion in America?

If elected to the U.S. Senate, I pledge to you — with every ounce of energy I’ve got — I’ll lead the fight to protect the unborn by:

>>> ENDING all taxpayer funding for not just Planned Parenthood, but for ALL abortion providers nationwide. I’ll fight to make sure not a single dime of taxpayer money is used to murder innocent children;

>>> Introducing a Life at Conception Act, which would federally recognize life as beginning at the moment of conception;

>>> Supporting and confirming ONLY U.S. Supreme Court nominees who you and I can count on to overturn Roe v. Wade;

>>> Working to ban the sale and distribution of chemical abortifacients like RU 486.

As you can see, I’m committed to protecting the Sanctity of Life from the moment of conception to natural passing.

I’m confident and strong in this belief — and I will NEVER waver from my position.

You have my word on that.

County Commissioner again accuses Obama of promoting charter schools with ties to Turkish cleric

Friday, November 13th, 2015

A Colorado Springs county commissioner, who’s considering entering the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, is again alleging that President Obama backed a national education program, in part, as a way to establish U.S. charter schools linked to a Turkish Islamic cleric.

“One of the reasons that President Obama was actually looking at and amenable and actually kind of agreeable to, if you will, Common Core was, that would be a way to influence and infiltrate and open up charter schools to able to have the Fethullah Gulen charter schools, which were bringing teachers over from Turkey,” said El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton Monday on KLZ 560-AM.

Littleton did not cite her evidence for this, but it reflects what she said at a conservative conference in March, as reported by Scott Keyes of ThinkProgress.  It’s not clear what Common Core, which is an education curriculum, has to do with establishing charter schools in the United States.

Followers of the reclusive Gulen, many with Turkish ties, have opened charter schools worldwide over the past decade, including over 100 in the U.S.  They focus on math and science, in keeping with Gulen’s notion that devout Muslims should not teach religion but science instead. “Studying physics, mathematics, and chemistry is worshipping God,” he sermonizes, according to a CBS investigation.

CBS discussed allegations that the Gulen schools are exploiting foreign-born teachers and the charter-school system for profit–and that the schools are secretly “promoting an Islamic agenda.”

CBS interviewed a teacher who claimed she was exploited, but CBS couldn’t confirm these accusations regarding Islam, reporting that “we looked into this and Islam is not taught at all.”

But Littleton implies that religious education is taking place at a Colorado charter school, which she allegedly visited, with ties to Gulen.

Littleton: “When I went in, it was apparent to me that the some of the pictures and things had been taken off in the walls. And they practiced, you know, some of the Muslim practices that are taught in the Koran, is what I observed when I was there.”

In March, Littleton told ThinkProgress that these charter schools teach students to “hate Americans.” This may or may not connect with her belief, expressed at a Alliance Defending Freedom Conference in July in Colorado Springs, that churches should prepare to “respond biblically” to disasters like “martial law.”  Anyway, when I hear back from Littleton, I’ll ask her about this, too.

Already in the race for the GOP nomination to take on Democrat Michael Bennet are state Sen. Tim Neville, businessman Robert Blaha, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, former Aurora city counilman Ryan Frazier, former Parker mayor Greg Lopez, and El Paso County conservative Charles Ehler.

Three Republicans, including Littleton, are considering the race. Talk-radio host Dan Caplis is “very serious” about a run. And Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith is thinking about entering the race.

State Sen. Ray Scott is rumored to be a likely candidate. Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg has stated that two or three other candidates are considering the race.

Arapahoe County DA Charles Brauchler, Rep. Mike Coffman, and State Sen. EllenRoberts all considered running for the GOP nomination, but have withdrawn.

Here’s Littleton discussing Obama and education on KLZ Monday:

McInnis, who’s open to another statewide run, isn’t thrilled with any of the current GOP senate candidates

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Former Congressman Scott McInnis told KNUS radio host Craig Silverman Saturday that he’s taking Spanish lessons and hasn’t ruled out a run for statewide office, despite the spectacular crash of his 2010 gubernatorial campaign after his “musings on water” articles proved to be plagiarized.

But he doesn’t see an opening for himself in the current Republican primary race to take on Democrat Michael Bennet, as he said the “alignment” isn’t right today.

But McInnis, who’s now a Mesa County Commissioner, isn’t excited about any of the current GOP Senate candidates, saying he’dlike to see Rep. Scott Tipton run. And he said failed 2008 Senate candidate Bob Schaffer would “win that race.”

McInnis gave no indication that his plagiarism scandal, which torpedoed his 2010 campaign, would hurt him in future statewide campaigns.

McInnis: As you know, following that BS, and that’s exactly what it was, I was caught totally off guard by those allegations. And to be  straight with you, before I ran for governor, we spent about $50,000 doing opposition research, and the opposition research was on me. And I wanted to know every hiccup somebody would bring up. Every vote we looked at. We looked at every possible thing. This never came up, because we never know about this. Well, after this broke, we didn’t have time to get ahead of it, Craig. ..those allegations that there was, not perjury, but–

Silverman: Plagiarism.

McInnis: Plagiarism. That shows you how much I was involved. But it worked. It was very effective. It destroyed our opportunity. …We suspected Hickenlooper would be their candidate and we ran consistently 12 points ahead of him.

He said the plagiarism accusation was based “false information,” pointing to his “complete exoneration” by the state’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. He was cleared of dishonest lawyer behavior but not slimy political behavior, including throwing his elderly research assistant under the bus. That’s what cost him.

Sonnenberg decides against U.S. Senate run but says two or three other candidates may jump in race

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Colorado State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg will not join the growing field of Republicans vying to take on Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet next year.

Sonnenberg took a serious look at the race, but determined that he needed to focus on other priorities.

“There are issues that are affecting my district that will probably need to be dealt with this next legislative session,” he told me. “And between that and my farming and ranching operation, that has to be my highest priority.”

“It’s always tough to try to figure out how you can be that spokesperson for rural Colorado, and quite frankly, all of Colorado and a national level, and still maintain your real job,” he said when I asked him if he had a hard time making a decision on the run.

Sonnenberg declined to say whom he’d back in the Republican primary, explaining, “I anticipate there may be a couple three more actually get into the race. So it’s hard to say yet.”

Asked if he’d consider state-wide office in the future, Sonnenberg said, “I think that door is always open, depending on how the dominoes fall. If the opportunity arises, and I’m the right person, if that’s the way things fit, yeah, I would again look at a race down the road.”

With Sonnenberg out, two Republicans are left who’ve announced that they are considering the race. Talk-radio host Dan Caplis is “very serious” about a run. And Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith is thinking about entering the race.

Already in are state Sen. Tim Neville, businessman Robert Blaha, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, former Parker mayor Greg Lopez, and El Paso County conservative Charles Ehler.

State Sen. Ray Scott is rumored to be a likely candidate. Sonnenberg declined to name the two or three other candidates he cited who are considering the race.

Colorado Peak Politics first reported Sonnenberg’s decision not to run.

Media omission: Tancredo doesn’t think establishment Republicans will torpedo Neville like they did him

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

As State Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton starts to make his case for taking on Democrat Michael Bennet, he’s embracing his conservative background, not trying to modify or conceal it, like Sen. Cory Gardner did, framing himself as the kind of no-compromise conservative who will shut down the government, if necessary, to get the job done.

By conservative, for Neville, I mean across-the-board from guns (opposing permits to carry concealed guns) and vaccinations (supporting parents who reject them) to immigration (against in-state tuition for undocumented students) and choice issues, which I addressed in a RH Reality Check post Monday.

“We’re not going to shy away from issues, whether it be issues we brought up last year in the Parent’s Bill of Rights [or] issues that are important to life,” Neville told Rocky Mountain Community Radio’s Bente Birkeland last week.

Neither is Neville shy about using the budget process to shut down the federal government. Asked for his view of  the “no-government-shutdownmantra” on KNUS 710-AM Oct. 4, Neville said it’s a “false premise. When has the government ever shut down?” He said he’s the kind of conservative leader who draws other lawmakers to him, rather than the kind who compromises. Listen to Neville on KNUS here.

So, the big money question is, will the country-club Republicans respond to Neville, like they did to former Rep. Tom Tancredo.  When Tanc was poised to win the GOP gubernatorial primary last year against Bob Beuaprez, the national Republicans knocked him out by funding an ad campaign directed at Republican primary voters. It worked. Down went Tancredo. Up went Beauprez. And down went Beuprez later.

You might think history is about to repeat itself soon, with moneyed Republicans thinking that Neville would, Tancredo-like, sully the GOP brand in Colorado and, even more importantly in our swing state, undermine the efforts of the Republican presidential candidate.

I asked Tancredo if he thought the establishment Republicans would try to bring down Neville.

Tancredo called it an “interesting question,” saying, “I happen to like Tim Neville. I think he’s a great guy, and he could win the primary.”

“Will they do to him what they did to me?” Tancredo said. “I don’t think so, because I don’t think they have an alternative whom they think can win.”

“In my case, they knocked me out because they thought they could perhaps win with Bob. But I don’t think there is a sense that they could win this race with anybody presently on the scene. So they don’t give a rat’s ass. And they’re not going to spend any money necessarily attacking Neville, because they don’t think he’ll win but they don’t think anybody they’ve got will win.”

“It’s got to the right circumstance for the [establishment Republicans] to do it. After all they couldn’t stop Dan Maes. And if you can’t stop Dan Maes, baby, I don’t know what kind of shot you think you have.”

But, I asked Tancredo, what if Republicans bring in a self-funding placeholder?

“Let’s see what would they look for?” asked Tancredo. “Oh, I know! A really rich old white guy? I bet that’s who they’d try to find to run. [Laughs.] Sure. There’s the key. That’s the ticket. Rich old white guys have so much appeal in Colorado.”

We laugh together at this, and the interview ended.


Media omission: Sonnenberg will decide “by the first of next week” on a U.S. Senate run

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg will decide “by the first of next week,” whether he’ll join the Republicans seeking the party’s nomination to take on Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet next year.

In an interview yesterday, Sonnenberg said he’s been “looking at” running for “several months” but was waiting on “George Brauchler’s decision” before deciding whether to enter the race himself.

“I’ve spent the past week meeting with a number of people in Denver,” he said, adding that he anticipates “having a decision by the first of next week.”

“Michael Bennet’s numbers look worse than Mark Udall’s did a year out,” he said. “I see that as an opportunity to have two Republican senators from Colorado.”

In addition to Sonnenberg, talk-radio host Dan Caplis is “very serious” about a run. And Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith is thinking about entering the race. Already in are state Sen. Tim Neville, businessman Robert Blaha, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn and former Parker mayor Greg Lopez. Staten Sen. Ray Scott is rumored to be a likely candidate.

Media omission: GOP Senate primary heats up on Facebook

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

After State Sen. Ray Scott’s name was floated on Facebook as a possible candidate to take on Sen. Michael Bennet, Rep. Justin Everett of Littleton stood up for his guy, Sen. Tim Neville.

“I don’t see anyone beating Tim in the primary, and I don’t see Ray as a threat,” wrote Everett. “Especially because Sonnenberg will probably get in as well, and they’d probably be competing with each other for the rural vote.”

To which, Ray Scott replied, “Tunnel vision only applies when you’re in a tunnel.”

Everett then wrote: “Reality based on 20 years political experience from being paid staff on state-wide campaigns, tight with consultant class, to doing high dollar fundraising for the RNC [Republican National Committee]. I got creds.”

“I’m friends with Ray and Jerry, but the fact is, this is a battle. If you are going to take on Michael Bennet, you have to have a proven candidate,” Everett told me when asked about the Facebook post.

But how does he know Sonnenberg is even likely to run?

“I call it the rule of three. I’ve heard from three people  that Jerry flat-out said he would run,” said Everett, adding that the three people are from different groups.

In a telephone interview, Sonnenberg told me that, in fact, he had not yet decided to enter the Senate race.

He confirmed that he’s been “looking at” running for “several months” but was waiting on “George Brauchler’s decision” before deciding whether to enter the race himself.

“I’ve spent the past week meeting with a number of people in Denver,” he said, adding that he anticipates “having a decision by the first of next week.”

“Michael Bennet’s numbers look worse than Mark Udall’s did a year out,” he said. “I see that as an opportunity to have two Republican Senators from Colorado.”

As for Scott, Everett says he’s heard from other sources that Scott is serious about the race, and Everett points to the fact that Scott himself “chimed in” during the Facebook exchange as further confirmation of this.

Scott did not return a call for comment. I’ll update this blog post if he does.

In response to a commenter who called Ray a “good candidate,” Everett wrote on Facebook: “Performance matters. Ray hasn’t raised money from anyone or PACS. Tim has… My horse [Neville] knows how to win a race and is battle tested. Ray has never had a competitive race. Tim Neville, no better horse out there.”

Everett told me Neville can win based on the “Ken Buck Model of 2010 when he beat Jane Norton.” Buck went on to nearly defeat Bennet in the general, despite mistakes by national Republicans, he told me.

“There’s a path for victory for Tim, not only in the primary, but in the general,” said Everett, adding that Buck was way outspent by Norton and still won.

“Tim is smart enough to get good people behind him and raise money,” continued Everett. “He knows how to do direct mail, micro-targeting, voter ID. They know how to run campaigns, and they’ve been successful in primaries. He’ll work his butt off. He’s authentic. He’s in an excellent position to win the primary. Is this a battle Republicans want to fight? Or should they coalesce around Tim?”

In addition to Neville, businessman Robert Blaha, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn and former Parker mayor Greg Lopez have already announced their intention to seek the GOP spot against Bennet. Attorney Dan Caplis is “very serious” about a run, and Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith is thinking about entering the race.

 UPDATE: The first version of this blog did not include a response from Sonnenberg. It is now included.

KNUS talk-radio host Dan Caplis “very serious” about U.S. Senate run

Monday, October 5th, 2015

On Channel 12′s “Colorado Inside Out” Friday, Westword Editor Patty Calhoun seemed to surprise moderator Dominic Dezzutti when she said Denver radio host Dan Caplis is considering a U.S. Senate run against Democrat Michael Bennet.

“Tim Neville, who announced [his U.S. Senate candidacy] yesterday, a conservative, leaves a lot of room for someone else to jump in,” said Calhoun in response to Dezzutti’s question about the Colorado Senate race. “The most interesting one I’ve heard lately is, Dan Caplis is looking again at a race.”

“I appreciate Patty saying that because it’s true,” Caplis told me this afternoon when I called to confirm. “I absolutely have a serious interest.”

Caplis, a Denver attorney and longtime radio personality, told me he was fully behind the potential candidacy of George Brauchler, and thinks Brauchler would make a great senator. But when Brauchler decided against running last week, Caplis decided to consider entering the race himself, he said.

“I just need to make sure it’s the right thing for our family first,” said Caplis, whose talk show airs on KNUS 710-AM. “And then, beyond that, I’ll just take a good hard look at whether this is the way to make the best contribution that I can. I mean, that’s what most people try to do. That’s what I’m trying to do. Is this the best way to do that?”

Caplis will announce his decision in six to eight weeks after meetings and further thought, he said, promising not to “drag out” the decision.

Caplis’ name was floated in 2009 as a possible opponent for Sen. Michael Bennet. And back in 2007, Caplis spent a couple months traveling the state and talking with folks about whether to run against Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar.

“It would hard to be a lot more serious than we were about it before,” said Caplis when asked if he was more serious this time around. “Honestly, we were very close to getting in before. It’s pretty much the same this time. I’m very serious about it, but I have to make sure, first and foremost, that it’s right for the family.”

“Beyond that, I think it’s pretty clear that a person can make a pretty big contribution as a U.S. Senator, if they are willing to do what it takes to make that contribution. And I think there’s a lot at stake in this election.”

Asked if he’s more like Ken Buck or Cory Gardner, Caplis said, “Don’t box me in. Don’t put any labels on me. That’s one of the reasons I’d love to run this race, is to do it the right way. Stand up and tell people what you really believe and what you are really going to do and not get boxed in by labels or any of that. And if people want me, they want me. And if they don’t, they don’t. But if I run this race, it’s going to be a race unlike people have seen before.”


Post interview spotlights Brauchler falsehood that he was “one vote away” from getting death sentence in Aurora trial

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Excellent reporting today by The Denver Post’s Jordan Steffen, who breaks the news that three jurors in the Aurora theater trial voted affirmatively for life in prison, according to one of the three jurors, who was previously thought to have been undecided.

Steffen’s interview is beautifully written, giving you a great sense of the juror’s struggles and a journalist’s experience talking to her, but what caught my eye, as someone who listened to prosecutor George Brauchler repeatedly say he was “one vote away” from getting the death penalty, were these three paragraphs:

“There were three,” [the juror] said. “Not one.”

…Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler has said he wouldn’t second-guess his decision to pursue the death penalty because of one juror’s position that led to the life sentence.

Last week, he said all of the deliberating jurors he’s spoken with have indicated that Juror 17′s account was accurate. He conceded that he hadn’t met with all of them.

More of an explanation from Brauchler would have been nice, because you have to wonder why a man of his intelligence and intensity would deliver rotten information about the jury count, without at least saying he wasn’t sure or acknowledging, as  juror 17 had clearly said after the trial, that juror 17 was against the death sentence and two jurors were undecided. That’s obviously three, not one, votes away from conviction.

Maybe Brauchler, who subsequently announced he wouldn’t challenge Sen. Michael Bennet, was just trying to make himself look good? But as a veteran prosecutor, he had to know that his misinformation could be hurting real people.

Steffen reported that the juror he interviewed ended “her silence because she could no longer bear to watch the weight of public scrutiny — what she described as a ‘witch hunt’ — fall solely on the shoulders of her fellow juror.”

Brauchler was partly responsible for the witch hunt, as today’s Post piece makes clear.



With collapse of Rand Paul, Dudley Brown may be cash cow for Tim Neville

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Journalists have raised doubts about whether State Sen. Tim Neville, who’s expected to announce his campaign against Sen. Michael Bennet today, can raise the $10 million or more required to unseat the well-financed Democratic uncumbant. It’s a reasonable question, for sure, but recent political shifts could be opening bank accounts for Neville that were locked just months ago.

Colorado’s own Dudley Brown has had close ties to the collapsing presidential campaign of Sen. Rand Paul (See joint photo.). Paul has signed fundraising appeals for Brown, which so pissed off the National Rifle Association (NRA) that the NRA didn’t even invite Paul to an NRA Leadership Forum, which was attended by 12 GOP presidential hopeufls in April.

Brown may now be looking for a new gun-loving federal candidate prop up with millions of dollars. And that lucky candidate could be Neville, whose close ties to Dudley are not in dispute as you can read below if you need to.

But does Dudley have that kind of money? Well, he’s president of the National Association of Gun Rights (NAGR), which raised over $16 million in 501c4 political-attack funds, according to its lastest-available federal filing. It’s impossible to know how much of that dark money could be diverted to Colorado’s Senate race, but the money is big. And for what it’s worth, back in 2013, Dudley said his organization would spend at least $1 million on campaigns.

Dudley is also executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), which played a key role in organizing recall campaigns and in mobilizing voters in senate primaries in Jefferson County. It’s credited for pushing State Sen. Laura Woods to actual victory last year. So there’s that.

Everyone knows Brown loves Neville, and vice versa, and it goes beyond their mutual dream of eliminating all background checks on anyone who purchases any gun anywhere, in this life or the next.

Tim Neville’s son, Joe, was hired as the lobbyist for RMGO, and less known is the fact that Joe Neville is also director of political affairs for NAGR.

And Neville may owe his first legislative victory to Brown, who went all in to help Neville win a 2011 vacancy committee appointment, to replace Sen. Mike Kopp. In a mean campaign, Neville beat his neighbor, then GOP State Rep. Jim Kerr.

Later, during his during his 2014 campaign against Democratic encumbant Sen. Jeanne Nicholson, Neville was endorsed by RMGO PAC and boasted about his ties to RMGO .

Neville stated on his website: “As a proud member of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, I was honored to defend your Second Amendment rights in the Colorado State Senate last year… I was proud to sponsor ‘Constitutional Carry’ legislation and be recognized by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners as the strongest defender in the legislature of your Second Amendment rights.”

That kind of talk may translate into the cash Neville needs to have a shot at Bennet. At least in theory. But money is just one obstacle for a conservative like Neville in Colorado.