Craig Silverman Show, Lynn Bartels, December 1, 2018

Station:     KCFR, 90.1 fm

Show:       Craig Silverman Show

Guests:    Bartels, Lynn


Date:        December 1, 2018


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HOST CRAIG SILVERMAN:  In this midterm [election], every Republican go wiped out.  How did that feel?

SPOKESWOMAN FOR COLORADO SECRETARY OF STATE, LYNN BARTELS:  I was surprised on the county level. I was not surprised on the state level. In fact, I ran into somebody from The Denver Post yesterday who said, “You were at the Press Club a couple of months ago [and] you told me Wayne was going to lose. And I was like, ‘No way!’ I mean, he’s done such a great job. The Democratic lawmakers love him.” And I go, “That’s the 700 people who know people. The rest of them –.” And I told people, “You know what this reminds me of? This climate reminds me of 2006, and I was covering Ed Perlmutter’s race.  And whenever he knocked on a door, the person who came to the door said, “I don’t care who you are, I’m not voting for you if you’re not – if you’re a Republican!”  And just take that to the tenth power this time. The hatred of Trump in the voter-heavy metro area, you–. Three of the hottest state senate races were in Jefferson County and the hottest Congressional race was in Arapahoe County.   So, those are crucial counties. And those were just brutal – brutal!—for Republicans.


SILVERMAN:  I assume you’re a Republican.  Is that correct?

BARTELS:  Well, here’s what’s funny, is when [Colorado Secretary of State] Wayne [Williams] hired me, he had no idea what my political – he had no idea what I was registered as. And I was registered as a Republican, although I will tell you that most of the time I’ve been in Colorado, I have been a Democrat. And I’ve been Unaffiliated at some points.  So, I am much more “person over Party.” I thought what was interesting is Matt Crane, who – the amazing Arapahoe County Clerk who got defeated – spoke the very next day after the election at the Arapahoe Men’s Club, and he talked about the impact Trump had on the county. And someone stood up and said, “This is all because [U.S. Congressman, Mike] Coffman didn’t embrace Trump!  He should have embraced Trump!” And, I mean, I don’t know, when you have some people [who] think that, where are you going to head?

SILVERMAN:  But what were your thoughts? If you could have stood up at that breakfast meeting – I don’t know, maybe you did – what would your retort be, to somebody who said all Mike Coffman had to do is embrace Donald Trump and he would have won?

BARTELS:  Well, this is what I love about Wayne Williams:  the 2016 elections, the Monday before the election, I walked into the office and I said – well, I kept saying I’m not voting for either Hillary [Clinton] or Trump, I just don’t like either of them – and I walked in and I said to him, “I’m going to be honest with you. I voted for Hillary Clinton.”

SILVERMAN:  Well, there you go! Now you’ve just told the world.

BARTELS:  Yeah, and I – you know, the election is over. I can say that. Most people know, I never vote, you know, party or anything. But there were just some things that just — . You know, for me, the hardest thing with Trump is the fact that any small business he has ever hired, he never paid them.

SILVERMAN:  Well, he paid some people.

BARTELS:  He paid some, but a number of people he did not. The other problem that bothered me about Trump is he came to Colorado in October, and – on a Saturday and a Sunday in mid-October – he talked about the elections being rigged.  You know, and at that time everybody thought he was going to lose. And I think he was weighing [unintelligible], “Well if I lose, I can say the elections were rigged.” And I was just so incensed by it that I gave a statement to the media that said, “Donald Trump has been tweeting about elections being rigged, but he offers no evidence of such. I can say on Twitter I’m a supermodel, but that doesn’t make it so.”


SILVERMAN:  How can they [losing GOP statewide candidates] be loyal Republicans, given that Donald Trump is the head of the Party, and I have to think that they’re discouraged by Donald Trump right now.  Why don’t you just speak for yourself?

BARTELS:  I will tell you this about Wayne and Donald Trump. Wayne said at one point, “I never dreamt that when it came time to elect a President that I would have to vote for my last choice.” Because, remember, there were like 17 people running, or something.  And Donald Trump was his last choice. He was a Marco Rubio person to start with, then I think – maybe it was Scott Walker, then a number of people who dropped out. Then it was Ted Cruz. And then you were left with Trump. And he has no regrets about voting for Trump, like I have no regrets voting for Hillary Clinton. What he says about Trump is, “What matters to me is the Supreme Court and that’s why I voted that way.” And he wouldn’t change his vote for anything.


SILVERMAN:  He has gone from the last in the 17-person race to #1 in their hearts. And God forbid you say anything bad about him because – don’t you know – Donald Trump demands total loyalty. I mean, have you observed that phenomenon?  And what do you make of it?

BARTELS:  I don’t – I’ve observed it, and I’m confused by it. And some of my favorite Republicans, some of the smartest Republicans I know will say, “I’m liking this President. I think he’s doing a good job!” And I’m like, “That’s their opinion.” I do know that right after the 2016 election, Channel 9 interviewed Wayne and they asked him, “What do you think of somebody that wins the election and still claims there was voter fraud?” And you know, Wayne has that huge laugh that’s amazing, and he let out that huge laugh. And Channel 9 ran that clip– I think it was during the Broncos game, or something. Or it ran all Sunday. And there were Republicans who were really mad that Wayne was laughing and criticizing. It was a criticism of Trump that wasn’t exactly a criticism. But that laugh said it all.


SILVERMAN:  Does Donald Trump have any chance of winning Colorado in 2020?


SILVERMAN:  And what should Cory Gardner do?  He had a chance to break with Trump over Saudi Arabia, but he did not do that this week.

BARTELS:  I [unintelligible] surprised by that.

SILVERMAN:  But what is—is there any path –?  You were surprised by that, or not?

BARTELS:  Yeah, I was surprised that – I was surprised that he didn’t break. But you know, I – let’s be honest here. And your listeners probably know this, if they know anything about me. I believe that we have the two best US senators in the country in Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner.  And what frustrates me is the criticism of both of them for working together.

SILVERMAN:  Well, how can Cory Gardner keep his job in 2020? Do you see any path to victory for him?

BARTELS:  Well, I will say this: he’s probably going to have one of the best campaign managers – Chris Hansen – who was his campaign manager last time. Chris Hanson just ran their program to get senators elected across the country. And he and Cory and some other staffers gave a slide show at the Brown Palace about a month before the election, on ‘here’s a look at the races around the country’ – the senate races. Their prediction is that they would lose Nevada and Arizona.  They were dead on on that. I mean, I don’t know how Cory does it. Clearly, the anti-Cory – Cory could cure cancer tomorrow and you would have the same people just attacking him or going to his house and disturbing him. So, that will be an interesting thing to watch for the next two years. Somebody told me, “Who do you think will be the person – the Democrat – running against him?” And I said, “If the climate is like it is today, it won’t matter who it is. You know?


SILVERMAN:  And what percentage of the blame do you put on Donald Trump?

BARTELS:  Um, I put a lot of the blame on him.


SILVERMAN:  What about you? What are you going to do?

BARTELS:  I don’t know. I don’t know yet.  I really don’t know what I’m going to be doing. I figure that I will figure it out in the next month or so.  And we’ll see what goes from there.  I heard immediately – like the day after the election – the Gazette, their ColoradoPolitics[.com] called me three times in one day. In fact, I was on the phone with Cory Gardner – and he called to say, “Are you okay? And I said, “Yeah, I — it would be different if I didn’t expect this. But I have been predicting it for so long.” And then I go – and then he goes, “Do you have to get that? – he could hear my phone ring.  And I said, “No, it’s just the Gazette. They keep calling about wanting me to go back to journalism.” And he goes, “You should! You should!” You know? I’m not.