Archive for the 'Colorado presidential race' Category

Colorado Republicans are not irrelevant! Close GOP prez primary puts spotlight on Colorado

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

The irrelevancy of the Colorado Republican Party on the GOP presidential nomination process has apparently been exaggerated.

It’s been previously reported that after state Republicans eliminated their caucus straw poll last year, Colorado delegates could not pledge support to specific candidates prior to the Republican National Convention. In other words, Colorado GOP delegates would have to attend unbound to a candidate.

But this apparently isn’t true.

Republicans in Colorado can still pledge support for a Republican presidential candidate, if they state their intention to do so on a form that’s required to run for one of the 34 elected national-delegate spots. (Three additional Colorado delegates are determined by the Republican National Committee.)

The form, titled “National Delegate Intent to Run Form” 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.

The form states:

I intend to stand for election as a candidate for National Delegate at the following convention(s):

□ Congressional District Convention – Congressional District #_

□ State Convention…

Full Name (please print): ___________________________

□ Pledged to Support Presidential Candidate: _____________

□ Unpledged.

As the University of Georgia’s Josh Putnam writes on his blog about the presidential nominating process:

That pledge is much more important than is being discussed.

Colorado has been talked about as a state that will send an unbound delegation to the national convention. That would only be the case if all the delegate candidates who file intent to run forms opted to remain unaffiliated with any presidential campaign. If those delegate candidates pledge to a presidential candidate and are ultimately elected to one of the 34 delegate slots (not counting the party/automatic delegates), then they are functionally locked in with that candidate if that candidate is still in the race for the Republican nomination.

They would be bound to those candidates at the national convention because the Colorado Republican Party bylaws instruct the party chair to cast the delegation’s votes at the national convention “in accordance with the pledge of support made by each National Delegate on their notice of intent to run”. Anywhere from 0 to 34 delegates could end up bound from the Colorado delegation to the Republican National Convention.

That is a real wildcard in the delegate count in Colorado and nationally.

So, the pledge option on the “intent-to-run” form for delegates opens the door for a showdown among Republicans who have bound themselves to different candidates.

It also opens the door for fierce competition among the presidential candidates to push supporters to the caucuses, where they will vote for State-Convention delegates or Congressional-District-Convention delegates who are committed to pledging their support to a specific presidential candidate. (Ron Paul supporters managed to do this in 2012.)

The intent-to-run form also presents a public-relations opportunity for presidental candidates whose supporters are selected as county assembly delegates on caucus night–and then quickly announce en masse that they’ve decided to bind themselves voluntarily to a particular candidate.

Putnam writes on his blog that the March 1 Republican caucuses put a “premium on organizing — turning out as many supporters as possible for the precinct caucuses and then getting those supporters through to the county assemblies. It is only that group of county assembly participants who are eligible to be national convention delegates…. if a campaign is able to corner the market and move through to the next step a bunch of its supporters, that candidate will have a decided advantage in the delegate allocation process. They would dominate the pool of potential candidates and maximize the number of delegates the campaign eventually wins.”

Putnam writes:

Rather than being a state with no preference vote that no one pays attention to, Colorado becomes a real delegate prize for the campaigns who are able to organize there. Those that gain an organizational advantage — and that is much more likely in a low turnout election without the incentive of a presidential preference vote — have a real opportunity to get something out of the Centennial state. It will not necessarily entail candidates coming into the state over the course March and into April (because forcing delegate candidates through to the county assembly level is the true mark of winning there), but it may make the media outlets pay continued attention to Colorado as the process there resolves itself. And since there is no preference vote guiding the delegate allocation process from step to step, a candidate could dominate in Colorado and come out on April 9 with a significant majority of delegates.

…In the conventional sense, candidates will not necessarily come to Colorado to drive up support for a March 1 vote that will not happen. That is doubly true in light of the fact that Colorado shares its precinct caucuses date with primaries and caucuses in 13 other states. Functionally though, with delegates potentially on the line, Colorado is certainly not a non-event.

Colorado Republican Chair Steve House apparently affirmed this process here.

So, bottom line, Colorado could see a major fight among the Republican presidential candidates to influence the vote for 34 National-Republican-Convention delegates, who will be selected at the April 9 GOP state convention and April 8 GOP congressional district convention.

Republican sources tell me that only Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are showing any sign of a ground game here in Colorado. But this may change in the coming weeks.

Letter-to-the-editor offers psychological profile of Trump

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

In response to my recent post, revealing another instance where Rep. Mike Coffman appears to resist criticizing Donald Trump, I received this letter:

Dear BigMedia:

The following psychological profile excerpt is a nearly one-to-one match with the qualities/behaviors that Trump supporters find attractive, in their own words:

“[N]ever allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.”

And the last bits — repetition of a big lie until enough people believe it — are not things Trump’s supporters would expressly agree with, but are near indisputable, given the well-established pattern of Trump making a false insinuation followed by his supporters adopting and propagating the falsehood as truth.

Now, there is already a well-developed narrative comparing Trump’s recent escalation of rhetoric to the template used by Hitler/Goebbels, etc.  What I have noticed is that the comparisons depend upon the writer’s subjective opinion about how close a comparison between the two can be justified.

And perhaps a pundit has already made this connection (and you may already have guessed as much), but the excerpt above is from a report prepared by the Office of Strategic Services in late-1943/early-1944, entitled “A Psychological Analysis of Adolph Hitler. His Life and Legend”.

This sort of punch-line feels more compelling than the high-school-essay-type position, “I believe Trump is like Hitler because…”

Because this profile was a contemporary analysis of a living Hitler/enemy-of-America, it creates a brutally effective frame for understanding how/why Trump is building his support in the manner he has.

In other words, even if folks who are on the fence about Trump don’t trust any 2015-era critics making comparisons based on 60+ year-old history, they may be more persuaded when they recognize Trump in the words written by America’s best-and-brightest intelligence officers when America regarded this sort of leader as a mortal enemy.



Key Denver Post reporting on Quinnipieac poll cut from print version of story

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

I was sorry to see that key paragraphs of Denver Post reporter John Frank’s intelligent reporting on the latest Quinnipieac poll were cut from the version of the article that appeared in newspaper’s print edition. Here is the disappeared info:

Moreover, the survey results are likely to face scrutiny given the pollster’s mixed reputation in Colorado. A 2014 Quinnipiac poll put Gov. John Hickenlooper down 10 points to his Republican rival weeks before voting began even though others showed him with a narrow 2 percentage point edge. Hickenlooper won by 3 points.

The survey under-represented Democratic and unaffiliated voters, compared to state registration figures — which may help explain Clinton’s below-average performance in the poll.

To my way of thinking, those two paragraphs, which were in the online article, provided essential context on the poll’s absurd rusults, which showed, in part, Donald Trump thumping Hillary Clinton by an 11-point margin!

At least the print edition included this paragraph:

The poll — a year before the general election — represents a snapshot in time, rather than a reliable indicator of how Colorado will vote in November 2016.

GOP chair hinted that he’d assign lousy green rooms to his least favorite candidates

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Prior to last night’s Republican debate, Politico reported that some of the candidates were less than thrilled with their “green-room” assignments. These are rooms where the presidential aspirants waited prior to and after their appearances on the debate stage in Boulder.

New Jersey Govenor Chris Christie’s space was “dominated by a toilet,” while Trump’s room had “plush chairs and a flat-screen TV,” according to Politico.

The unequal room assignments could possibly have been the intentional work of Colorado State Republican Chair Steve House.

On the Colorado GOP Watch Facebook page yesterday, anti-House activist Marilyn Marks posted audio of House hinting that he’d assign shoddy green rooms to candidates he doesn’t like and vice versa:

On May 19, House said the following at a Lakewood, CO, Tea Party meeting (audio here).

House: “I cannot support a candidate before general election. There are certain presidential candidate that I like and those I don’t like. ….
I have a debate in October at CU. I will be dealing with green rooms for 20 or 30 candidates, and some I am going to like, who want red M&M’s, and some I’m gonna say ‘are fools and shouldn’t be there,’ and some will get assigned to showers in the locker room and others to restrooms, because that is just the way the lottery of it. But I can’t FORMALLY pick a candidate in the process until there is general election.”

House has actually dissed Trump in the past, so his giving Trump plush chairs doesn’t quite square with what we know of House’s candidate preferences. But, on her Facebook page, Marks speculates that House may have been trying to “make amends” for his prior public statement about Trump.

In any case, here’s what Politico reported:

During a tense 30-minute meeting at the Coors Event Center, which was described by three sources present, several lower-polling campaigns lashed out at the RNC. They accused the committee of allotting them less-than-hospitable greenroom spaces while unfairly giving lavish ones to higher-polling candidates, such as Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

The drama began Tuesday afternoon as RNC officials led campaigns on a walk-through of the debate site. After touring the stage, candidates got a peek at what their green rooms looked like.

Trump was granted a spacious room, complete with plush chairs and a flat-screen TV. Marco Rubio got a theatre-type room, packed with leather seats for him and his team of aides. Carly Fiorina’s room had a Jacuzzi.

Then there was Chris Christie, whose small space was dominated by a toilet. So was Rand Paul’s.



Reporter allows Republican to imply that CNBC is responsible for keeping students out of the debate

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Republicans continue to blame CNBC outright, or imply that CNBC is responsible for severely limiting the number of seats available for today’s GOP presidential debate, when, in fact, all signs point to the Republicans as the ones who made the decision to fill only about 1,000 of the 11,000-seat arena at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“The way it was explained to us was, the event was meant for a TV audience, not so much live audience,”  the Colorado Republican Committee’s Brian Lynch told Colorado Public Radio’s Rachel Estabrook, for a piece that aired nationally last night.

Explained to us? By whom?

Lynch doesn’t say, and there’s no indication Estabrook asked him.

We know from a university spokesman that CNBC set the number of seats that could be filled for the event, and the Republicans were in charge of distributing tickets.

What we still don’t know is, how many seats Republicans had to give away. CNBC “did not respond to interview requests” from Estabrook.

But logic says, CNBC would subtract the number of seats needed for its equipment and personnel—and let the GOP have the remainder of the tickets. Why not? I mean, Republicans rented the Coors Events Center.

But, in any case, what’s crazy is, journalists are letting Republicans deflect criticism that Republicans should let more students in—without clarifying who’s, in fact, responsible.

If you listen to NPR’s story last night, you’re left thinking CNBC is responsible, especially becuase it’s not commenting.

The question remains, how many tickets did CNBC make available to Republicans for distribution? And why is CNBC mum as Republicans to blame it?

CNBC still won’t help explain why the GOP has turned a 11,000-seat arena into a bunker

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

You have to admire the Republicans for going to Boulder for their debate Wednesday.  It took some serious conservative backbone to descend on a town that stands for so much that Republicans do not.

But then what happened? Republicans rented a giant 11,000-seat auditorium for their debate and are treating it like a big giant bunker, keeping Boulder out.

Showing their generosity and love of the youth vote, Republicans are giving students a whopping 100 tickets for the debate, even though it will be held on the campus of the University of Colorado. A total of only 1,000 tickets total are being distributed, with most apparently going to insiders and operatives.

This has left journalists asking how many tickets do Republicans have to distribute, if they wanted to give out more? And’s who’s responsible for allowing so few people in?

The Republicans won’t tell, and you wouldn’t expect them to, given that they don’t want to offend the students, who are signing petitions and clamoring to attend. Everyone knows Republicans don’t need to give young people more reasons not to like them—beyond the existing turnoffs of the GOP positions on choice, gay marriage, climate change, etc.

And CU won’t give out the ticket number either, only saying CNBC, which is airing the debate, set the audience size and the Republicans are in charge of ticket distribution.

So, in an ironic twist of journalism, the answer to the question of how many tickets are theoretically available resides within a news enterprise. That would be CNBC.

And CNBC, modeling the behavior journalists hate most, isn’t commenting. And in so doing, CNBC is covering for Republicans, allowing them to shift blame elsewhere and more easily avoid divulging how many tickets are available and why they aren’t being distributed.

So you have the Republican National Committee saying only that the debates are designed for television–and the leader of the Colorado Republican Party even blaming the “networks” for narrowing down the number of available seats to a “very small number.”

Any CNBC reporter, or any self-respecting journalist for that matter, would want to report the truth.

But in an upside down twist on journalism, CNBC has it, if they’d only tell. It knows how many people Republicans could have allowed in their bunker in Boulder.

Kopel’s praise of ProgressNow makes TV show more interesting

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Dave Kopel, research director at the right-leaning Independence Institute, slapped a pat on the back of left-leaning ProgressNow Colorado, on the latest edition of Colorado Inside Out, agreeing with the state’s top online progresive organization that Republicans should let more people, especially students, view their debate in Boulder Wednesday.

“I think ProgressNow is correct that it is ridiculous that they have this 10,000-seat arena, and they’re only letting a 1000 people in,” said Kopel on Colorado Public Television’s Colorado Inside Out Oct. 23 (@31:34 here).  “If you want to do it in a TV studio with hardly any audience, go ahead and do that.  But if you’ve got it there, it should be opened up to the public.”

He’s right. It’s crazy ridiculous to limit the seating to 1,000 people, with only 100 tickets going to students at the University of Colorado, where the debate is taking place.

Kopel has clashed with ProgressNow, especially on gun issues, so it’s good to see him call out the truth as he sees it, in his role as pundit on the TV show. If you watch the show regularly, you know Kopel doesn’t always align himself with conservatives. Recently he’s praised Democrat Morgon Carroll and dissed conservative school board member Julie Williams.  It makes the show, which can get a bit sleepy sometimes, more interesting.


Colorado is a good place to ask Cruz and Rubio about their support for federal personhood legislation

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Before Wednesday’s Republican debate in Colorado, home of the personhood movement, it’s worth a quick review of the top GOP candidates’ positions on personhood laws, which would ban abortion by giving legal rights to zygotes (fertilized eggs).

The Personhood Alliance, a national anti-choice organization, has made this quick review easy by publishing a micro website with the abortion positions of the top six Republican presidential candidates.

Surprisingly, among the candidates listed on the website, only Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are on record as personhood supporters. Both pledged to co-sponsor federal personhood legislation, called the Life at Conception Act, but neither of them actually did so.

I wondered if Rubio and Cruz went to Washington and discovered there was no such thing as federal personhood legislation.

Of course, that’s what Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said last year about the Life at Conception Act, even though he was actually factually a co-sponsor of the House version. On the Senate side, the legislation was sponsored by a fading GOP presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul.

Unfortunately neither Rubio’s nor Cruz’s office returned my call, so I can’t tell you why they have yet to hop on the federal personhood bill, as promised.

As I wrote Friday for RH Reality Check (here), Personhood Alliance spokesman Gualberto Garcia Jones thinks Cruz is more likely to fully embrace personhood than Rubio, illuminating the limits of Rubio’s careen rightward.

But, still, both Cruz and Rubio are personhood backers, which could prove to be a major vote getter as they work through the GOP primary but also a serious liability if one of them actually wins the nomination and confronts more diverse voters.

In any case, reporters looking for local angles for GOP debate stories might ask Cruz and Rubio  why we need to give zygotes legal protection under the good old 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Why is CNBC covering for the Republican National Committee?

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

The Colorado Republican Party is blaming CNBC for severely limiting the number of seats available at its Oct. 28 presidential debate at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

But CNBC, which you’d think would advocate for maximum transparency and public access, hasn’t accepted the blame. Instead, strangely, it’s not commenting. What gives?

“We don’t actually know how many seats there are going to be yet,” said Colorado GOP Chair Steve House, discussing the upcoming presidential debate on KFKA’s Stacy Petty show Sept. 23.“The Coors Events Center holds 11,000, but networks are going to narrow that down to a very small number because, for some reason, they think that people might act out, right?”

CU is also blaming CNBC, sort of. In a statement about the limited seating, CU Chancellor Phillip P. DiStefano said: “The debate is being produced and led by CNBC. They determine the audience size, debate format and other aspects of the event. The Republican National Committee is in charge of ticket distribution.”

DiStefano said CNBC determines the audience size, but he was mum about the actual factual audience size set by CNBC for the event. It could have 1,000. It could have been 10,000. What was the number that the RNC was working with?

We know the CU’s Coors Events Center holds 11,000 people. The RNC is reportedly distributing just 1,000 tickets, with 100 going to CU students. So did CNBC determine the 1,000 number?

A CNBC spokesman declined to comment to me this morning, as it’s done before about this matter, making CNBC look like it’s covering for the RNC. That’s not an appealing role for a journalistic entity.

CNBC’s silence allows the RNC to get away with not taking responsibility for the limited seating, especially because House, the local Republican leader, is flat-out blaming CNBC.

Here’s an example of what the RNC is saying:

“These debates are designed for a television audience and the millions of people who will tune in,” said Fred Brown, an RNC spokesman, according to the Durango Herald. “We look forward to the attention an event of this scale will bring the university.”

Any CNBC reporter, or any self-respecting journalist for that matter, would find that spin revolting. But normally, a journalist couldn’t do much about it. In this case, however, the information to expose the spin resides within the journalistic outfit itself. That would be CNBC.

I’m hoping CNBC will do journalism a favor and start explaining what’s going on here.


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.