Archive for the 'Colorado presidential race' Category

Klingenschmitt is a Colorado connection to Pence

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Klingenschmitt on GOP vice presidential candidate Pence

Reporters looking for local hooks to Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence may be interested in a Facebook post from state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs), in which he wrote that Pence helped him demand that military chaplains, like Klingenschmitt, be allowed to conduct Christian services in uniform.

Klingenschmitt wrote that Pence  “personally helped me get 70 signitures on a letter to the President demanding we let military chaplains pray ‘in Jessus’ name.'”

In the Facebook post, Klingenschmitt, who goes by Dr. Chaps, claims to have met Pence “walking the halls of Congress in 2005.”

Klingenschmitt did not immediately return a call seeking details.

The pray-in-uniform campaign, which was assisted by Pence, essentially launched Klingenschmitt’s career as a Republican gadfly and social-conservative activist, anchored by his “Pray in Jesus Name” podcast.

Last year, Klingenschmitt said Pence “did the right thing” by signing an Indiana law allowing businesses to discriminate against gays. Listen to Klingenschmitt’s podcast on the topic here.

“I discern the spirit of god on Mike Pence who is standing up for righteousness,” said Klingenschmitt at 6:35.

Klingenschmitt said that the “gay left” was lying in stating that the law allows discrimination. After a national outcry, Pence revised tha law.

Klingenschmitt is widely known for his right-wing comments and actions, including his alleged exorcism on a lesbian soldier, during which he claims to have said, “You foul spirit of lesbianism, this woman has renounced you, come out of her in Jesus’ name.”

Correction: Klingenschmitt is not a former lawmaker, as an earlier version of this post stated. He gave up his state house seat to run for the state senate, but he lost. His term ends in January.

“Really, there’s no ground game,” says Adams County GOP Chair of Trump efforts

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

After Colorado Trump campaign director Patrick Davis said last week that Trump will rely on the “robust operations” of the Colorado Republican Party to mobilize voters in November, a key county Republican chair said Saturday there’s no signs of any Trump ground game in Adams County, a critical battleground in our state.

ADAMS COUNTY GOP CHAIRMAN, ANIL MATHAI: Honestly, I have not seen [the Trump ground game] in Adams County.
KNUS RADIO HOST CHUCK BONNIWELL: [chuckles, knowingly]
MATHAI: It’s consistent with what happened before caucus. Really, there’s no ground game. There’s no campaign here in the state. I know that [Republican donor and Colorado Statesman owner] Mr. Mizel is helping with fundraising here in Colorado. Also, I believe Mike Shanahan and Pete Coors are helping to raise major donations for Mr. Trump.
CO-HOST JULIE HAYDEN: Right.
MATHAI: So, there is activity going on. It’s going to ramp up. But honestly, there is no real solid ground game here.And that needs to be increased. And the state party, [Sate GOP Chair Steve House], I believe, is working on that.
BONNIWELL: Well, you better get to it one of these days. [laughs]
HAYDEN: I agree with you, there, too. I was worried that that was going to be your answer because, you know, just as a reporter, having covered it and sometimes seeing the difference in sort of the Democratic Party’s ground game and the Republican Party’s ground game – it seems to me it can make a big difference.
MATHAI: It can. And we expect – I expect the state party, and I believe, will set the tone on this and set the leadership on this. They’re having a unity tour for, uh, Darryl Glenn up and down the state, going to different places, here. Yeah, it starts in Larimer at, I believe, nine o’clock, and then all the way down to Pueblo County. So, they are making attempts here to make sure that we win all of our races.

Adams County is widely regarded as one of the most important counties in the state, so the total absence of a Trump ground game there in mid-July is not good for Republicans, who’ve been facing the same problem nationally, according to an Associated Press piece yesterday titled, “A lot of holes in GOP ground game in key states.” The AP reported:

“In Colorado, recent staff departures have left about two dozen employees, far short of the 80 that were to have been in place.”

With no ground game, Trump campaign will “graft” itself to “robust operations” of Colorado Republican Party, says Trump state director

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Colorado’s Trump campaign is relying on the “robust operations” of the Colorado Republican Party to mobilize Trump voters, including “many new people” who are drawn to Trump but are not yet in the campaign databases.

Davis: “Because Donald Trump has been bringing so many new people back to politics and to politics, they are really not in our databases,” Colorado Trump campaign director Patrick Davis told KLZ 560-AM’s John Rush on Thursday.  “We don’t know what they believe. In some cases, they are not registered to vote.  In some cases, we don’t know how to find them to remind them when Election Day is, because, believe it or not, people do forget. You do have to remind them.” [BigMedia emphasis]

Davis said the Colorado Republican Party, with its “robust operations,” is tasked with finding these newly politicized people, along with voters of “all stripes,” totaling 1.3 million people, the number of votes Davis thinks Trump needs to win in Colorado.

Davis: “Because the Trump campaign did not invest in a ground game—everybody knows it; it happened all over the country—we are having to graft ourselves into the robust operations at state Republican parties all over the country,” said Davis on air.

“Colorado is one of 11 battleground states, and the state Republican Party here has been preparing for this day for over a year. Now, I run campaigns based on metrics and numbers. We believe that for Donald Trump to win Colorado, he needs to identify and turn out 1.3 million voters in Colorado of all stripes. Republicans, Democrats, independents, Libertarians, liberals, conservatives, we got to turn them out.”

Trump officials have been saying in recent weeks that the campaign will rely on state parties, which have uneven strengths around the country.

The unprecedented upheaval in Colorado’s state GOP in recent years, including the ouster of state chair Ryan Call last March and the subsequent efforts to depose current chair Steve House last summer, raise questions about the robustness of the party’s operations. But House has insisted in recent radio interviews that the party is fully functional and up to the tasks it needs to perform to win races up and down the ticket in November.

State senate swing district could test Trump’s impact in Colorado

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Depending on where you’re coming from, one of the most interesting, important, scary, fun, inspiring, or depressing questions about Trump’s triumph among Republicans is, how will he impact down-ticket races?

Here in Colorado, no down-ticket seat is more important than that of State Sen. Laura Woods, the Republican from Westminster. Control of state government likely depends on the outcome of her race, against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger, whom Woods defeated in a Republican wave year (2014) by 650 votes. Republicans hold a one-seat majority in the state senate, and Democrats control the house and governor’s office.

Woods is the only elected official in Colorado who’s proactively called Trump one of her “favorite” presidential candidates. She’s the closest thing Trump has to an endorser in Colorado, among elected officials.

“My favorites are Ted Cruz and Donald Trump,” Woods told KNUS radio hosts Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden earlier this year. And she later affirmed her fondness for the candidate on Facebook and in an email to supporters.

Yet, despite all this, reporters have apparently not asked Woods to explain her stance on Trump and how she (and others) think it will affect her all-important race in November.

And Woods won’t return my calls.

In lieu of begging other reporters to talk to Woods, possibly as part of a look Trump’s impact on the makeup of the Colorado legislature, I offer this video, a new version of one posted previsouly.

Republican County Chair Jokes about Obama Being a Monkey

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Delta County Republican Chair Linda Sorenson shared an image on her Facebook page last week depicting Ronald Reagan nursing a chimpanzee. The photo is sandwiched by the phrase, “I’ll be damned… Reagan used to babysit Obama.”

Sorenson told me in a very brief phone interview today that it was a joke.

“I really don’t care if people are offended by it,” she told me of the post, which was sent to me by a source. “Un-friend me. Stop looking at me on Facebook.”

A similar photo was among a group of images exchanged via email among Ferguson, Missouri police and a city official, according to a 2015 report in the Washington Post, which obtained the emails as part of a public records request. The three officals involved were fired. The Post reported at the time:

City officials in Ferguson, Mo., on Thursday evening released the full, unredacted content of racially charged and religiously insensitive e-mails sent by the city’s former court clerk as well as two former supervisors in the police department.

The e-mails, released to The Washington Post in response to a public-records request, were sent and received by Mary Ann Twitty, who was Ferguson’s court clerk, as well as former Ferguson police captain Rick Henke and former police sergeant William Mudd. All three were removed from their jobs after the Department of Justice discovered the e-mails, which prompted an internal investigation by city officials. The unredacted versions show for the first time which employee sent which e-mails.

TrumpWatch: Gardner said Trump can’t win. Woods favored him. What say local Republicans now?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

The local response to Trump’s big win last night should catch the attention of journalists now, with Colorado Republicans coming to grips with Trump as the presumptive GOP nominee.

On the pro-Trump side, as I’ve blogged many times, there’s apparently only one elected official in the state of Colorado who’s actually factually called Trump one of her favorite candidates, and that’s State Sen. Laura Woods of Westminster, whose race in November will likely decide whether Democrats take complete control of state government in Colorado. Yet, she’s never been asked about her fondness for Trump. (See video below.)

As I chronicled previously, other Colorado Republicans are divided on whether they’ll back Trump.

One Republican who’s refused to say whether he’d support Trump is Rep. Mike Coffman, who’s handling of Trump could affect the outcome of his contested congressional race in Aurora against Democratic State Sen. Morgan Carroll. (Rep. Ken Buck, who called Trump a “fraud,” has also been undecided about backing the mogul.)

In February, Coffman wouldn’t say if he’d get behind Trump, if Trump won the nomination. What say he now?

Then there’s Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who thinks Trump cannot win. Back on Februray 4, three months before Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Gardner hopped on a Denver radio station and told the world (or at least a cloistered conservative corner of it) that Donald Trump cannot win the general election.

Gardner: ‘The bottom line is this. There is only one way to prevent a third term of Barack Obama, and that is to elect a Republican nominee as president. I believe the only person who can win the November election and the Republican nomination is Marco Rubio.” (Listen to the Feb. 4 podcast here at 7:20 or below.)

Whoops. Or maybe not?

Gardner, who once called Trump a “buffoon” and won’t really say if he’d even support Trump,  is of course not the only Republican who said point-blank that Trump can never win in a general election. But what say he now that Trump is the Republican man of the year?

There’s some interesting GOP explaining to do now, and let’s hope we’ll see journalists making sure it happens.

Listen to State Sen. Laura Woods on KNUS 710-AM Jan. 16, 2016

Listen to Cory Gardner on KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis Show Feb 4, 2016 (at 6 min 45 seconds)

Breitbart should state that Woods likes Trump, making her involvement in pro-Cruz shenanigans unlikely

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Breitbart’s Julia Hahn reports that four Colorado lawmakers, who are members of Ted Cruz’s “Colorado Leadership Team, voted against a 2015 bill that would have created a presidential primary in Colorado.

Trump has said the absence of a primary or caucus vote helped Cruz trounce Trump in the race for Colorado delegates. And Hahn’s story implies that Cruz supporters in Colorado’s legislature might have been working to squash Trump as early as last year, when they voted against a bill establishing open primary that might have benefited Trump.

“Social media posts, along with Cruz’s campaign website, reveal that Sen. Ted Cruz supporters in the Colorado Republican Party were responsible for crushing an effort to give Colorado the ability to vote in a state primary…The four Republicans who voted against the initiative were Sen. Kevin Grantham, Sen. Kent Lambert, Sen. Laura Woods, and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg.”

The trouble with this conspiracy theory is that Woods is actually factually on record as saying Trump is one of her top two favorite presidential candidates. As such, Woods is the only elected official in the state to affirmatively say she likes Trump.

Woods “narrowed the field” after watching the GOP prez debate in Boulder, and she concluded that her “favorites are Ted Cruz and Donald Trump” (here at 25 min, 50 seconds).

Later, Woods “liked” a Facebook post by The Conservative Update, which stated:

‘Like’ if you would vote for Donald Trump if he were the 2016 GOP nominee.

So if Woods was secretly in the tank for Cruz last year, when she voted against the presidential-primary bill, she, at a minimum, had a change of heart after being wowed by Trump at the Boulder GOP debate. But, more likely, she voted against the prez-primary bill for other reasons.

In any case, Hahn should update her post with the fact that Woods praised Trump and said he was one of her favorite candidaates along with Cruz, before she jumped on the Cruz boat.

State GOP chair fires back at Trump Campaign

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

Colorado GOP State Chair Steve House fired back at Donald Trump’s presidential campain yeseterday, saying campaign staffers know they were treated “fairly” in Colorado, but are attacking state Republicans anyway because they want to advance a “narrative” that “typical politics” is “unfair and improper.”

“Alan, [Colorado Trump Campaign Director] Patrick [Davis], even [Senior Trump Advisor] Stephen Miller, who visited us out here, they know I didnt send out the tweet,” House told KNUS 710-AM yesterday. “They know that’s not who I am. They know I didn’t treat them unfairly.

“They also know they weren’t in a great position to win delegates here, but at the same time they have a campaign to run and there’s sort of a narrative out there about the syestem and typical politics being unfair and improper. And they are trying to keep that narrative up, and it’s going to come a little bit at my expense.”

House is referring to a tweet stating, “We did it. #NeverTrump,” launched on the state GOP Twitter feed Sunday, after it was clear Trump didn’t win a single Colorado delegate to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July.

On the radio, House again denied that the state party was responsible for the tweet, and he said an investigation is underway.

House said on air his office is “very, very close” to figuring out who sent the tweet, and he promised he’d announce exactly what happened as soon as he knows.

In response to the GOP anti-Trump tweet, and other issues, the Trump campaign tweeted, “This will not be allowed,” implying that Colorado might figure into a challenge of the outcome of the Republican National Convention.

Trump’s attack on the Colorado GOP exploded across all media platforms yesterday, generating death threats and 3,000 calls to the state party, House told KNUS afternoon hosts Steve Kelley and Krista Kafer yesterday.

Colorado may play role in possible Trump challenge at national GOP convention

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Republican Dolnald Trump is hopping mad at Colorado Republicans:

“The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians. Biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed!” Trump posted on Twitter.

In his story about the comments, The Denver Post’s John Frank reported:

The problems with Trump’s ballots [as Frank put it, “riddled with errors”] — and the candidate’s comments — raise questions about whether Colorado will figure prominently into a challenge at the national convention about the state’s delegates.

Another issue that could lead to a challenge by Trump is the fact that Trump actually won at least one straw poll vote earlier this year, and these results could be binding.

National Republican rules state that if Colorado held a straw poll, delegates would be bound to the candidate for whom they voted.

That’s one reason Colorado Republicans decided against having a straw poll–in addition to concerns that too many people would show up.

But some Colorado precincts held straw polls anyway, arguably flouting the rules, calling the straw-poll votes symbolic.

But straw polls are symbolic by definition. And holding them could have violated GOP rules.

Trump didn’t win all of the straw polls held in Colorado, but he won at least one of them, in Adams County, according to a report in The Denver Post.

They key question is, did any of Trump’s delegates in Adams County or elsewhere go on to be selected to attend the the national GOP convention–even if they’re now saying they are like Cruz. If so, they may actually be bound to Trump.

So Trump’s possible challenge at the natioal convention could also include questions about delegates he may have won due to the symbolic straw-poll process.

This post was updated at around 11 am April 11.

GOP to name candidates running to be Colorado delegates at the GOP’s National Convention–and which prez candidates they support, if any

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

The Colorado Republican Party will post on its website the names of all the GOP activists who are running to be Colorado delegates at July’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

In a KLZ 560-AM interview last week, State GOP Chair Steve House said the list of candidates, which will appear on the website around Friday, will also include “whether they’re supporting someone [a prez candidate] or not.”

The public list could set off a furious effort among the remaining presidential candidates to either get their supporters elected as national delegates or win over the unbound candidates vying to be delegates to get their votes later.

Under Colorado GOP Party rules, Republicans who are running for one of the Colorado GOP’s 34 national delegate slots have the option of binding themselves to a specific presidential candidate, like Donald Trump. Or they can run “unbound” to a candidate, leaving themselves free to vote for any candidate during the first vote at the GOP National convention.

They make their choice known to the Colorado Republican Party on a form, titled “National Delegate Intent to Run Form,” that must be submitted 13 days prior to the April 9 Republican State Convention or the April 8 Congressional District Convention, where delegates are selected for the national Republican Convention. Delegates to those meetings are chosen from county and congressional district assemblies.

“You will see in about a week from Friday all the candidates who have applied to be national delegates and whether they’re supporting someone or not,” said Steve House on air March 17. “That will be on our website.”

Colorado Republicans eliminated their preference poll at their March 1 caucuses, so reporters have been unable to get a handle on how the state GOP will allocate its delegates. Some caucuses held nonbinding votes anyway, raising the possibility that national delegates who voted in straw polls may be bound to their straw-poll votes, per national GOP rules.

Colorado Republicans get 34 elected national-delegate spots. Three additional Colorado delegates are determined by the Republican National Committee. By rule, those three delegates are specificied to be the State GOP Chairman (House), the RNC Commmitteeman for Colorado (George Leing), and the RNC Committeewoman for Colorado (Lilly Nunez).

After the first vote at the GOP National Convention, all of Colorado’s delegates will become unbound and free to vote any candidate, according to House, who appeared on KLZ’s “Americhicks” show.

Steve House himself is going to the convention as an unbound delegate, and he’s likely to vote for one of the candidates who are in the race now, according to The Hill’s Jonathan Easley and Ben Kamisar.

House said that even if one of the candidates arrives with a strong plurality of delegates, he wouldn’t feel obligated to push that candidate across the finish line solely by virtue of them coming the closest.

“I’m looking at whether the candidate is a conservative and whether they can win in November,” he said. “I’m voting for the candidate that meets that criteria, period.”

House also said he will likely only support a candidate who is still running for president, rather than a “white knight” candidate, like Mitt Romney or [Paul] Ryan, who could be put forward in later ballots.

House told the Hill he’s being heavily lobbied:

“I’ve received hundreds of emails, and I’m getting phone calls from people telling me who they think should be president and why,” said Steve House, the chairman of the Republican Party in Colorado and an unbound delegate.