Archive for the 'Colorado presidential race' Category

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

https://youtu.be/3xMMMWNqrj8

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

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/sen-cory-gardner-disucsses-gop-presidential-field-on-knus-february-4-2015

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.

Woods joins Trump and Coffman in opposing citizenship for undocumented immigrants born in the U.S.

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

In a Facebook post last week, State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Westminster) came out against birthright citizenship, the U.S. policy granting citizenship to people born on American soil, even if their parents are not citizens.

The debate about birthright citizen was largely confined to hard-right conservative circles, until Donald Trump came out against it in August, as part of his immigration platform, sparking high-profile debate among Republican presidential candidates and pundits.

Woods, who has said Trump is her second favorite presidential candidate, “liked” a Facebok post, sponsored by Numbers USA, which read:

LIKE if you agree with Trump. Illegal aliens should not be awarded birthright citizenship!

A graphic shows a photo of Trump with the text, “End Birthright Citizenship.”

Trump’s immigration platform also calls for the rounding up and deportation of  America’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants to their country of origin. From there, they’d be free to apply to become U.S. citizens.

Woods’ office did not immediately return a call for comment on whether she agrees with Trump’s immigration policy in its entirety–or whether she’d want to rescind citizenship from millions of immigratns who’ve become U.S. citizens under America’s birthright-citizenship law.

Most other Colorado politicians have been silent on birthright citizenship, but as recently as 2013, Rep. Mike Coffman confirmed his opposition to the policy, in an interview with The Denver Post, saying “sure” he’d like to abolish birthright citizenship.

Back in 2011, Coffman cosponsored a bill that would have abolished birthright citizenship.

Both Woods and Coffman represent swing districts where anti-immigration positions could turn off immigrant voters. About 20 percent of Coffman’s district is Latino.

Woods won her Westminster seat by about 650 votes in 2014, while Coffman has been seen as vulnerable since his district was re-drawn after the 2010 census. Coffman narrowly defeated a Democrat in 2012 and won by a larger margin in 2014.

 

TrumpWatch: Where Colorado Republicans Stand on Trump

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

With Trump’s wins last night, the question of whether Colorado Republicans will vote for the mogul, if he’s the nominee, became even more relevant, as we inch toward the Republican Party’s July 18 national convention in Cleveland.

Here’s an update of my handy TrumpWatch guide for reporters tracking the local GOP response to Trump.

The mogul still apparently has only one GOP elected official who, based on public statements, affirmatively likes him and would vote for him as nominee. That’s State Sen. Laura Woods, the Republican from Westminster (though her candidate-of-choice is Ted Cruz). You recall, Woods “narrowed” her choices to Cruz and Trump after the GOP debate in Boulder.

Other high-profile Republicans in Colorado don’t share Woods’ enthusiasm. Even a brash politician, like former CO Secretary of State Scott Gessler, is turned off by Trump. Asked last week by 9News’ political reporter Brandon Rittiman if he’s “comfortable with Trump being the face of the Republican Party,” Gessler said:

Gessler: “My sense with Trump is, he certainly could beat Hillary Clinton, but he could end up being a complete disaster. Obviously, he’s been a lot ruder and cruder than other candidates to date. Does that alienate a lot of the electorate? I think there’s a really high probability of that. And his style is certainly not my style. And that’s in part why I’m not real comfortable with him.”

Still, as you can see below, I can only find a couple former or current Republican elected officials or candidates who will say, flat out, that they won’t support Trump.

One of them is former State Sen. Shawn Mitchell, who wrote on Facebook last week:

Mitchell: “I can imagine Hillary representing me on the world stage before I can stomach His Blondness performing on my behalf. I won’t vote for her, but I will not vote for him. Supreme Court be damned. America has recovered from worse, and if we don’t recover, God is in charge.”

A larger number of prominent Republicans have said they’ll back Trump as nominee.

Here’s the latest summary.

Elected Republicans Who Are Declining to Say If They’ll Back Trump

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (though he called Trump a “fraud.”)

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman(But campaign spokeswoman Kristin Strohm told the Colorado Statesman Feb. 2, “Will Mike Coffman support the Republican nominee over Bernie or Hillary? The answer is obviously yes.”)

State House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso.

 

Elected Officials Who Actively Like Trump

State Sen. Laura Woods has said Trump is one of her two favorite prez candidates (here at 25 min 50 sec), but she’s backing Cruz.

 

Elected Officials Who Will Back Trump, if He’s the Nominee.

State Sen. President Bill Cadman.

Sen. Cory Gardner (even through called Trump a “buffoon.” ) (even though only answered after being asked seven times) (even though he seems to be backtracking.)

Rep. Doug Lamborn.

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton.

 

Former Elected Officials Who Will Back Trump, if He’s the Nominee

Former Colorado Senate President John Andrews.

Former Rep. Bob Beauprez.

 

Former Elected Officials Who Actively Like Trump

Former State Rep. Spencer Swalm is an “out-of-the-closet” endorser.

 

Former Elected Officials Who Will Not Vote for Trump

Former State Sen. Shawn Mitchell.

 

Candidates

These GOP U.S. Senate candidates told the Statesman they’d back Trump as nominee: businessman Robert Blaha, activist Charlie Ehler, Ryan Frazier, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, former CSU athletics director Jack Graham, former Rep. Jon Keyser, El Paso County Commissioner Peg Littleton, and State Sen. Tim Neville.

Casper Stockham, who’s challenging U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, says he will vote for Trump if he’s the nominee.

 

Notable Republicans Who Think “We May Be Seeing the Final months of the Existence of the Republican Party”

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer

 

Please send me any additions to this list.

TrumpWatch: Where Colorado Republicans Stand on Trump

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Here’s a handy guide to help reporters keep up with who’s bouncing on the Trumpoline in Colorado–and which way they’re flying. I’ll update it regularly.

Elected Officials Who Actively Like Trump

State Sen. Laura Woods has said Trump is one of her two favorite prez candidates (here at 25 min 50 sec), but she’s backing Cruz.

 

Elected Officials Who Will Back Trump, if He’s the Nominee.

Sen. Cory Gardner (even through called Trump a “buffoon.” )

Rep. Doug Lamborn.

State Sen. President Bill Cadman.

 

Former Elected Officials Who Will Back Trump, if He’s the Nominee

Former Colorado Senate President John Andrews.

Former Rep. Bob Beauprez.

 

Former Elected Officials Who Actively Like Trump

Former State Rep. Spencer Swalm is an “out-of-the-closet” endorser.

 

Former Elected Officials Who Will Not Vote for Trump

Former State Sen. Shawn Mitchell.

 

Candidates

These GOP U.S. Senate candidates told the Statesman they’d back Trump as nominee: businessman Robert Blaha, activist Charlie Ehler, Ryan Frazier, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, former CSU athletics director Jack Graham, former Rep. Jon Keyser, El Paso County Commissioner Peg Littleton, and State Sen. Tim Neville.

 

Notable Republicans Who Think “We May Be Seeing the Final months of the Existence of the Republican Party”

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer

 

Republicans Who Are Declining to Say If They’ll Back Trump

Rep. Ken Buck (though he called Trump a “fraud.”)

Rep. Mike Coffman. (But campaign spokeswoman Kristin Strohm told the Colorado Stateman Feb. 2, “Will Mike Coffman support the Republican nominee over Bernie or Hillary? The answer is obviously yes.”)

Rep. Scott Tipton.

Republican State House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso.

 

Please send me any additons to this list.

But for the time being, these are the people reporters can turn to for answers to the perplexing questions about GOP support or lackthereof for Trump.

Beauprez’s “family squabbles” contrast with Schaffer’s vision of possible death

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Failed 2014 gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez has a message for his fellow Republicans who might be nervous about the future of their party:

Beauprez: “At the end of all this, tough as it’s going to be, family squabbles can be pretty messy sometimes. But at the end of it, you realize, we are family. You grab hands. You give everybody a big hug and say, alright, let’s go win this thing.” (Listen to more on KOA 850-AM clip below.)

Failed 2008 senatorial candidate Bob Schaffer, on the other hand, had a different take:

Schaffer: “I think it is possible that we may be seeing the final months of the existence of the Republican Party. I really think that’s possible. If it’s going to salvage itself and restore itself and continue itself, it’s got to be something dramatic–and it’s not a Trump thing. Trump is not going to rescue it. And neither are the party insiders, who think business as usual is the way to keep doing business.” (Listen to more on KCOL clip below.)

Beauprez’s thoughts on the Republican crisis were by far the sunneist I’ve seen in Colorado, where most of the top GOP leaders in the state took the astonishing position of refusing to say whether they’d back Trump if he became the actual factual nominee–even after calling him a “fraud” (Buck) or a “buffoon” (Gardner).

After being asked seven times, Gardner said he’d back Trump if he’s nominated. So maybe Beauprez reminded Gardner of his familial obligations?

The story that’s missing now is, which elected Republicans, at any level here in Colorado, actually like Trump, not by default but affirmatively. I’ve seen only such person so far, and that’s State Sen. Laura Wosod (here at 25 min 50 sec). Trump is one of her favorite candidates. Who else is out there? And why?

Partial transcript of Bob Schaffer’s comments on KCOL March 3,

This sounds kind of radical, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I think it is possible that we may be seeing the final months of the existence of the Republican Party. I really think that’s possible. If it’s going to salvage itself and restore itself and continue itself, it’s got to be something dramatic–and it’s not a Trump thing. Trump is not going to rescue it. And neither are the party insiders who think business as usual is the way to keep doing business. But it’s got to be something dramatic and remarkable. It’s got come from the grassroots, maybe from the states or some collection of states that re-centers not the philosophy of the Republican Party but the behavior of the Republican Party. That’s the only way it’s going to be salvaged. If that doesn’t happen, somehow quickly and in some remarkable way, I think it’s possible by the time we are going into a presidential election again four years from now, we’re going to be talking about Democrats and some other party, some other organization. Maybe the Republican Party will be around, but it will be a third party by then. I really think that could be where we’re at right now.

Partial transcript of comments by Bob Beauprez on KOA 850-AMAM March 3.

A lot of us are seeing what used to go on behind those closed doors, behind the curtain.  We’re seeing it played out live and in person. This is serious high-stakes politics. Nothing more serious than a presidential nominee. And people feel passionately about it…. At the end of the day, I fully epect, whoever our nominee ends up being, after all the drama has played out, that conservatives will come together and support that nominee because the alternative to us conservatives is so unacceptable…We’ve been down this road before. Every four years, it seems like we go through this with a nomination process. I remember very well the campaign in 1980, and we all thought, oh my goodness, did you hear what George H. W. Bush said about Ronald Reagan with voodoo economics. And we thought that was appalling. Well, then they come together and are on the same ticket, and they serve very well together and became great friends. Politics is a strange business… But at the end of the day, all these guys want is to do what’s right for the country. And they will fight very hard for the right to be that standard bearer. But at the end of the day, we will come together around one. … At the end of all this, tough as it’s going to be, family squabbles can be pretty messy sometimes. But at the end of it, you realize, we are family. You grab hands. You give everybody a big hug and say, alright, let’s go win this thing. That’s how it will end up, I think.