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

Thanks to journalists who refuse to take the same non-answer for an answer

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Journalists take a lot of hits these days, but we’re all glad they’re out there asking questions.

The final days of the Republican senatorial primary give us an opportunity to thank journalists for asking candidates a question multipile times when the question isn’t answered.

This primary season, we added interviews with former State Rep. Jon Keyser to BigMedia’s video of reporters who refuse to take the same non-answer for a real answer. (The video also includes interviews with Rep. Mike Coffman and Sen. Cory Gardner. Tip of the hat to, among others, 9News’ Kyle Clark and Brandon Rittiman, former Fox 31’s Eli Stokols, and New7’s Marshall Zelinger and Marc Stewart.)

Graham deserves media attention for being the only pro-choice Republican in Senate primary race

Friday, June 24th, 2016

A huge frustration of Personhood USA folks is the familiar pattern of Colorado Republicans winning primary elections with the help of hard-working anti-choice activists and then buckpedaling away from the “pro-life” loyalists once they face the frowns of general-election voters.

See, for example, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) in 2014 and Republican senatorial candidate Ken Buck in 2010. Buck lost anyway, but Gardner (and Rep. Mike Coffman) buckpedaled their way to victory in general elections.

But now Republicans have a candidate who’s breaking free and saying he’s pro-choice from the get-go.

That’s former Colorado State University athletics director Jack Graham, whose website states:

Graham: Although I would never personally support an abortion as a way to deal with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, I do not believe I have the right to impose my choices on others. I support and I believe in a woman’s right to choose; and that our government does not belong in this decision.

It’s hard to imagine Graham buckbedaling on that pro-choice stance if he miraculously wins the GOP primary Tuesday. Why would he? A huge majority of Coloradans support abortion rights.

But Graham’s problem is, can he survive the GOP primary, where anti-choice activists join forces with Tea Partiers and actually win primaries. (See Buck and Maes.)

Graham’s competitors won’t be worrying about losing votes from anti-choice GOP voters because, as I outlined in a post for Rewire today, they’re all pro-life in varying degrees, with Darryl Glenn on top of the heap with the official approval of Colorado Right to Life, meaning he opposes all abortion, even for rape and incest. And he’d give legal rights to fertilized eggs (zygotes).

“I am an unapologetic pro-life American,” Glenn said during a recent televised debate.  “I don’t agree with the decision of Roe v. Wade.”

Graham and his campaign manager, long-time friend Dick Wadhams (See them them together here.), are probably hoping that the “pro-life” vote fragments among Glenn, Robert BlahaRyan Frazier (Listen to Frazier here.), and former state  Rep. Jon Kyser, leaving Graham to snare the three GOP primary voters who are pro-choice.

But, unfortunately for Graham, he already won over the three pro-choice Republicans with his other stands, like his support of gay marriage. And if choice is so important Republicans and determined who they’d vote for, they’d be Democrats! Or marginalized Republicans who aren’t voting in the primary.

So it’s hard to see how Graham wins politically with his pro-choice stance. But if he does, it will be great not to have to see the Buckpedal again. It’s such an ugly dance.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader McConnell says Glenn’s acceptance of a conservative endorsement is like having a “ticket on the Titanic”

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell waded into Colorado politics Saturday, telling KNUS 710’s Craig Silverman that to accept the endorsement of the Senate Conservative Fund (SCF) is like having a “ticket on the Titanic”

So, since Republican U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn has accepted the SCF endorsement, McConnell would preumably say Glenn’s boat is headed toward an iceberg–though McConnell told Silverman he doesn’t know anythig about Glenn.

SILVERMAN:  Who is behind the Senate Conservative Fund?  You know, they were just in the news in Colorado because they have committed to a candidate:  Darryl Glenn, El Paso County Commissioner.  And he is their selection.  Do you know anything about Darryl Glenn?  Or, do you just –.

McCONNELL:  I don’t.  I don’t.  But I can tell you, in Indiana there was a primary the doctor told her that the federal government ever primary between a Senate Conservatives Fund nominee and Congressman Todd Young, the other candidate.  And the candidate of the Senate Conservatives Fund tried to make me an issue in the Indiana Senate primary.  He lost by 34 points.  So, you know, I think any candidate who signs up with the Senate Conservatives Fund has to wonder whether that’s a smart strategy.

SILVERMAN:  Well, who is behind the SCF?  It used to be Jim DeMint.  Is he still the guy there?

McCONNELL:  It was Senator DeMint originally.  But it continues.  I’m not sure who’s running it now.  But they have an outstanding record of defeat, and you’ve got to wonder whether any candidate who is running a smart campaign would want to sign up with those guys.  It’s sort of like a ticket on the Titanic.

Asked for a response to McConnell’s attack, Glenn told me:

Glenn: “I understand he feels that way, and I look forward to seeing him at my swearing in. We will prove him wrong.”

When he was endorsed by the SCF last month, Glenn told The Denver Post that he was “very humbled” to receive the endorsement.

Ken Cuccinelli, president of the SCF said of Glenn in a statement, as reported by The Post: “He’s an inspiring leader who will defend the Constitution and stand up to the liberals in both parties.” “We are excited about his candidacy and will do everything we can to help him with this important race,” he added.

Silverman pointed out that McConnell, who’s said that talk radio misleads conservatives and may have contributed to the rise of Trump, cites Colorado’s 2010 Senate race, lost by Ken Buck, in McConnell’s recent book, The Long Game, as an example of what Republicans should not do.

Here’s a partial transcript of McConnell’s June 4 conversation with Silverman.

SILVERMAN:  In your book you write about how Colorado blew it in 2010, with the help of the Senate Conservative Fund.  What were you talking about there, in 2010, and why do you have such animus for the SCF—the Senate Conservative Fund?

McCONNELL:  Well, the Senate Conservatives Fund has been endorsing people who, if they win the primary, can’t win in the general.  We lost three seats in 2010, one there in Denver, with candidates who were unable to appeal to a broader audience in November.

SILVERMAN:  Ken Buck.

HOST CRAIG SILVERMAN:  Boy, I liked when you said that.  And you said you were “perplexed” by Michael Bennet’s vote.  We would use a different ‘P’ word, and that would be “pissed” at Michael Bennet because he undercut a lot of Colorado supporters — people who thought that he was on the side of Israel, but [it] turned out he was on Team Obama.  And I’ll tell you, it was very disappointing.  And that’s why a lot of us feel he needs to be replaced as the United States Senator.  Have you been following this campaign out in Colorado?

U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER, MITCH McCONNELL:  Yeah, I know you don’t have a nominee yet, but I’ve certainly been following the competition.  We hope to be able to compete in Colorado.  Obviously, that will depend on getting a candidate who has a shot at winning.

SILVERMAN:  In your book you write about how Colorado blew it in 2010, with the help of the Senate Conservative Fund.  What were you talking about there, in 2010, and why do you have such animus for the SCF—the Senate Conservative Fund?

McCONNELL:  Well, the Senate Conservatives Fund has been endorsing people who, if they win the primary, can’t win in the general.  We lost three seats in 2010, one there in Denver, with candidates who were unable to appeal to a broader audience in November.

SILVERMAN:  Ken Buck

McCONNELL:  We lost two in 2012 in Indiana and Missouri, with candidate who were unable to appeal to the larger audience.  And so in 2014 we took a different strategy and competed with the Senate Conservatives Fund everywhere they backed a candidate, and defeated them in every primary in 2014.  And that’s why we have a new majority.  And of course, your outstanding Senator, Cory Gardner, was a part of all that.  And it reminds everybody that the only way you can make policy is to actually win the election.  So, the nominating process, in order to work for us, needs to produce nominees who can actually win in November.  Otherwise, you’ve wasted your time.

SILVERMAN:  Who is behind the Senate Conservative Fund?  You know, they were just in the news in Colorado because they have committed to a candidate:  Darryl Glenn, El Paso County Commissioner.  And he is their selection.  Do you know anything about Darryl Glenn?    Or, do you just –.

McCONNELL:  I don’t.  I don’t.  But I can tell you, in Indiana there was a primary the doctor told her that the federal government ever primary between a Senate Conservatives Fund nominee and Congressman Todd Young, the other candidate.  And the candidate of the Senate Conservatives Fund tried to make me an issue in the Indiana Senate primary.  He lost by 34 points.  So, you know, I think any candidate who signs up with the Senate Conservatives Fund has to wonder whether that’s a smart strategy.

SILVERMAN:  Well, who is behind the SCF?  It used to be Jim DeMint.  Is he still the guy there?

McCONNELL:  It was Senator DeMint originally.  But it continues.  I’m not sure who’s running it now.  But they have an outstanding record of defeat, and you’ve got to wonder whether any candidate who is running a smart campaign would want to sign up with those guys.  It’s sort of like a ticket on the Titanic.

Keyser says “liberal media is not going to give up”

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser has proven to be a horrible media critic, threatening a reporter with his dog and saying the media is out to get him, without offering any evidence for his anger.  In fact, I can’t identify a single question from reporters that’s been unfair to Keyser or unreasonable given the facts on the table.

If anyone doubts this, I offer the following exchange between Keyser and KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis, beginning at 28:50 May 18 Hour 2 here.

Caplis: Obviously you’ve been getting a lot of questions over the way you handled an interview with a particular reporter from Channel 7. Give folks your perspective of that conversation through your eyes.

Keyser: The interview that you’re talking about, it actually took place during the middle of a debate. We were in a debate, a candidate debate. We took a five-minute stretch-your-legs break, and then of course this guy  [Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger] came and shoved a camera in my face. We were in the middle of the debate!

You know, I think it takes a lot of discipline to stick you your guns and say, ‘Here’s what I know. I know that I’m on the ballot. The Secretary of State has looked at that. A judge has looked at that again and again.’

And it takes a lot of discipline to not give the left what they want, which is — it’s not the 24-hour news cycle anymore–it’s something that will feed into the 24-minute news cycle.

They wanted me to misspeak, or they wanted to have me say something that they could run with or that would hurt me later. But I was focused on not stoking that fire, because, frankly, that is a very serious thing. And we wanted to make sure that we had the truth, that we knew exactly what happened. And that takes a little while sometimes. Now that doesn’t satisfy 24-minute news cycle.

But, you know, I think it was important that I stood in there, and frankly, we got to have a Republican who can stand there and take the punches, because the liberal media is not going to give up. They are not going to give me a free pass. That’s for sure. So, I’ve got to be able to stay on message, stay disciplined and be able to take the punches. And I’ve shown again and again that I can. I’ve answered more questions in the four months that I’ve been running for the United States Senate than Michael Bennet has in 4 years…

Caplis: This reporter who went to your home during the day?

Keyser: Yeah, certainly I think there are boundaries. And like any dad, I’m protective of my family. And if it seemed in that interview that I was agitated or somewhat upset, it’s because I was! It’s because I’m a dad. I’m very protective.  He scared my kids. My baby cried for another hour after they left. Nobody’s jumping out of Michael Bennet’s bushes to ask him questions.

Keyser fails as media critic

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser is adopting the Douglas-Bruce style of media criticism.

You recall Bruce, who authored Colorado’s TABOR amendment, once kicked a newspaper photographer at the capitol. Keyser didn’t kick, but he threatened a bite or two when he told Denver7’s Marshall Zellinger:

Keyser: “He’s a great dog. He’s bigger than you are. He’s huge. He’s a big guy. Very protective.”

At last night’s Denver Post debate, Keyser continued to be a low-information media critic. After complimenting The Denver Post for its coverage of his campaign’s forged ballot-access signatures, including one from a dead person, Keyser said:

Keyser:  “But frankly, there are a lot of media outlets in this state that have really done lots of heavy lifting, carried the water, for liberals on this to disguise Michael Bennet’s record and get us talking about anything that doesn’t involve Michael Bennet…

There’s big problem here in the media, because, there’s a double standard that exists. You know, frankly, I don’t know of anybody jumping out of the bushes to ask Michael Bennet questions about Iran or his support of closing Guantanamo Bay…

If he continues to criticize the media, Keyser would do well to focus on very specfific facts and stay away from misniformation and dogs and threats. For example, no one needed to jump out of the bushes to ask Bennet about Iran, because he took questions about it.

If Keyser keeps going after reporters like he’s doing, he risks creeping into the media’s doghouse. And no candidate wants to be there.

Keyser coverage should focus on key point even Republican allies aren’t standing up for Keyser

Friday, May 13th, 2016

UPDATE: Everett and Holbert continue going after Keyser.

—————
Never afraid to withhold his opinion when it comes to U.S. Senate candiate Jon Keyser, Rep. Justin Everett (R-Littleton) unleashed these Facebook posts this week:

Everett: “Sadly this is classic Keyser, saw this quite a few times in the year we served together in the legislature. Again, this guy is not ready for prime time…

A couple things here:
#1 – Again Keyser is not ready for prime time and his validity as a candidate will dog him for the rest of the campaign
#2 – Clearly the Secretary of State has a flawed review process; I may be working on legislation to address this next year
#3 – Go through the caucus and assembly process. Less expensive and you’ll KNOW if you’ve made the ballot.”

Everett was a supporter of Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton), another GOP U.S. Senate candidate who failed to make the Republican GOP primary ballot.

But Everett’s attack highlights the absence of any GOP support for Keyser in the copious media coverage of his refusal to answer questions about forged signatures on his ballot-access petition.

What you do see are Republicans like Everett and Rep. Chris Holbert, who wrote on Facebook of Keyser:

Holbert: “Sweat, shuffle around nervously, evade the question, and blink a lot nervously. Nailed it!”

The GOP response is key, at least for now, because it’s Republicans who will determine whether Keyser faces Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in November.

And the signs, beyond the attacks from Keyser’s expected GOP critics, aren’t looking good–as in there are literally no signs of GOP support for Keyser.

The Republican audience at yesterday’s debate at the Foothills Republican Club didn’t respond well to Keyser’s spin, as reported by The Denver Post’s John Frank:

The debate’s first four questions involved the petition issue, and Keyser refused to answer all of them.

“Here’s the important thing. I’m on the ballot, and I’m going to beat Michael Bennet,” Keyser said in a line he repeated five times in two minutes.

The response drew groans from the crowd and a shot from GOP rival Darryl Glenn who said the issue is important to the candidate’s integrity.

“If you are going to stand for the rule of law, if you are going to raise your hand and support the constitution, then you need to follow the law,” Glenn said to applause. “That’s the issue.”

So at this point, it looks like no one is supporting Keyser, not even any of Keyser’s allies. That’s a key point that journalists should document in more detail as we move forward.

 

Keyser said he’d “double- and triple-checked” his petition signatures and “everything”

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

With Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser still not talking to reporters about multiple forged signatures on his ballot-access petitions, I had no choice but to look back at previous statements Keyser made about the signature-gathering process. And reporters should be interested in what I found.

Recall that he claimed, on conservative talk radio May 2, to have “double- and triple-checked our petition signatures.”  Listen below.

In fact, in one interview on KOA 850-AM, he twice said he the phrase “double- and triple-checked,” indicating he’d put some thought into it. He said his campaign checked “everything” related to the petition process, which you’d think would include forgeries and signature gatherers with criminal histories of forgery.

This leads to the question for Keyser, if he ever talks to reporters about this: How could he possibly have double- and triple- checked his signatures if at least 10, according to 7News, are forgeries?

Why did Keyser say he double- and triple-checked the signature, as well as the entire “petition process and everything?” Did someone mislead him? Was he making this up? Why didn’t he verify what he was saying before he said it?

Keyser told KOA’s Mandy Connell on May 2:

Keyser: “It was an interesting week. It wasn’t too dramatic for us. We had double- and triple-checked our petition process and everything. And actually, I’m a reservist still in the United States Air Force, and I was gone on reserve duty. And I knew that we had double- and triple-checked our petition signatures. But we had a secretary of state that said we had a problem. We were a few signatures short in one of the congressional districts. But we knew we were okay. We were very confident about that. It took a couple days, but I’m on the ballot now and ready to beat Michael Bennet.” [needless to say, BigMedia emphasis]

Keyser’s promise to “always” answer questions is out the window

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Reporters should now that earlier this month, former Rep. Jon Keyser said what some politicians will say, and promised to always answer questions.

The context of May 2 discussion on KOA 850-AM was social issues, but you wouldn’t expect Keyser to have one standard about answering questions on social issues and another standard for other topics, like possible illegal campaign activities.

Keyser’s promise with respect to answering questions was clear (Listen below.):

Keyser: These are all issues that we have to talk about, if it’s a social issue. If it’s a question, I always answer the question. [BigMedia emphasis]

But now, Keyser’s campaign is refusing to answer questions from 7News reporter Marshall Zelinger about signatures that were apparently forged on Keyser’s petition to put his name on the June 28 GOP primary ballot.

Zelinger reported: We reached out to the Keyser campaign with a phone call and text to the spokesman, but as of Tuesday night at 11:45 p.m., he had not returned our call, text or tweets.

It’s not as if Zelinger’s questions are out-of-bounds or anything. He’s found 10 signatures that are clearly forged from people who leave in Congressional District One, where Keyser’s campaign needed to gather 1,500 signatures to make the ballot. He got 1,520 signatures. If you subtract the 10 forged signatures, Keyser is down to 1,510, and all of his signatures from CD 1 haven’t been analyzed yet.

Bottom line, reporters should point out that Keyser has promised in the past to always answer questions. In the wake of this story, he’s not doing so.

Does embattled GOP candidate Frazier regret not going through assembly, like Darryl Glenn?

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Denver talk-radio host Craig Silverman challenged GOP U.S. Senate canidate Ryan Frazier’s assertion May 6 that the petition path to the primary ballot is a grassroots route, and Silverman asked, after Frazier was off air, whether donations to Frazier’s campaign would “go directly to Scott Gessler and his legal fees.”

The exchange started with Frazier, who’s waiting for the Colorado Supreme Court to decide whether he’ll qualify for the primary ballot, telling Silverman that the “system is broken and the process [of ballot access] is stuck in the last century.”

Silverman responded by asking if Frazier regretted not going “through the assembly process like Darryl Glenn.”

Frazier (at 1:45): No!  Look, we got over 18,000 people to sign our petitions. You can’t tell me that’s not a grassroots approach.  That’s why we chose to go the petition route, is that we felt it was a grassroots approach to getting out to talk to tenss of thousands of voters.  We’re very, very much committed to the process we took.  But quite frankly, guys, sometimes you don’t realize how flawed the system is until you’re in the middle of it.  And that’s what we’re realizing now.  But here’s what we know –nand it’s not in question, Craig – is that the voters – these are valid Republican voters.  There’s no question about that.  And we believe that they should be counted.  So that’s what we’re fighting for.  And we believe that – or at least, we hope – that a logic will prevail in this case.

Silverman responded by saying, “I don’t understand how that’s grassroots, to pay over $100,000 to get some stranger to hold the petition outside the various courthouses where I go.  ’ve seen the petitioners. It doesn’t feel like I’m meeting Ryan Frazier or really participating on a grassroots level, if I decided to sign that.”

Frazier said he and his team are out there, too, and it’s a grassroots process.

At the end of the show, after Frazier solicited donations from listeners and then departed, Silverman wondered out loud whether Frazier’s donations would go directly to the pocket of Frazier’s lawyer, Scott Gessler, who’s representing Frazier’s cause in the courts.

Frazier (6:36):  I just want to encourage your listeners to go to FrazierForColorado.com. We could use every donation, every contribution some can make — no matter how small – to help us as we fight to fix this broken system….

Silverman: Does that money go directly to Scott Gessler and his legal fees?

Dan Caplis: You know, it’s the nature of the business.

Silverman: I don’t begrudge it! I like lawyers to get paid

Caplis: Yeah. No, the nature. Of. The. Business.

El Paso Country Commissioner Darryl Glenn and former CSU athletic director Jack Graham easily made the Republican primary ballot, while businessman Robert Blaha and former State Rep. Jon Keyser both required a judge to add them to the ballot.

Fact Check: Keyser blames SOS for ballot fiasco, but he made the error

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

U.S. Senate candidate John Keyser is blaming his campaign’s initial failure to qualify for the GOP primary ballot on a “bureaucrat” in the CO Secretary of State’s Office.

Keyser: “It was an interesting week. It wasn’t too dramatic for us. We had double and triple-checked our signature process and everything…. We had a secretary of state that said we had a problem. We were a few signatures short in one of the congressional districts. But we knew we were okay. We were very confident about that. It took a couple days, but I’m on the ballot now and ready to beat Michael Bennet.

Connell: What was the confusion…

Keyser: We had a guy who was working for us for months, collecting signatures. He did a great job, doing that. Now the secretary of state, not actually the secretary of state, but a bureaucrat that works in that office decided that he couldn’t quite tell who that person was, whether in fact he was a registered voter. He was of course. He had been registered as a Republican for years and everything. We know we didn’t have any issue there. Unfortunately, we had to go to court to take care of it, but were’ moving on.

Here’s what actually happened, per The Denver Post’s John Frank and Mark Matthews:

Keyser missed the mark in one congressional district because the address for one of the petition collectors did not match the registered voter file, as required by law. [BigMedia emphasis]

So the evil bureaucrat in the secretary of state’s office was just following the law!

A judge later determined that the Keyser campaign made the error, but she determined that Keyser came close enough to following the rules that she let his name appear on the ballot–in the interest of giving voters a choice. Close call for Keyser. If he had been following the rules, he wouldn’t have needed the judge’s decision.

So Keyser’s “double” and “triple” checking did not uncover the error, which was discovered by the secretary of state’s office. Despite this, Keyser tries to blame a government official who was just following the law.

Connell should make an on-air correction, stating that Keyser delivered misinformation on her show.

Listen to Jon Keyser on the Mandy Connel Show May 2, 2016