Craig Silverman Show, Walker Stapleton, March 10, 2018

Station:   KNUS, 710AM

Guests:    Stapleton, Walker


Date:        March 10, 2018

Topics:     Parkland Florida, Douglas Stoneman High School Shooting, Florida Gun Laws, Increasing Minimum Age for buying AR-15s, NRA membership, Infrastructure, Trasportation, Colorado Department of Transportation, CDOT, Shaillen Bhatt, Growth, I-25, I-70, PERA, Public Employees’ Retirement Association, Legislative PERA fix, Law Firms in Campaigns, Money in Politics,

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HOST CRAIG SILVERMAN: [00:00:01] Oh, what a world! What a world! What a life! What an interesting life that has been led by Walker Stapleton. He has been elected Colorado State Treasurer. He first took the office away from somebody named Cary Kennedy, who was the incumbent. That’s not easy to do. We may be having a rematch in Colorado. Cary Kennedy did great in the Democrat caucuses. She has the support of the teacher union. But Walker Stapleton seems to be the frontrunner — one of the frontrunners — in the Republican battle to be the nominee. Walker Stapleton, welcome back to 710 KNUS.

CO TREASURER & GOP CANDIDATE FOR CO GOVERNOR, WALKER STAPLETON: [00:00:55] Craig, always great to be on with you. And just for the record, I do not have the support of the teachers’ union.

SILVERMAN: [00:01:01] I know it. But I can tell you it’s good to have the support of the teachers’ union, because they organize, they show up, and they’re one of the most effective organizations in terms of political support that I’m aware of.

STAPLETON: [00:01:16] Absolutely. Wellm you know the head of the Bell Policy Center was asked just a couple of weeks ago on public access television what the underlying reason was that Cary Kennedy had gotten the support of the CIA. And during an unguarded moment, he said, “Well, I think what’s really going on here is that the last person that the CEA wants to see as the next governor of Colorado is Walker Stapleton.” And I take that as a badge of honor, based on the leadership that I’ve been showing on a number of fiscal issues impacting the funding for our classrooms and PERA and a number of other things. So, to me, that’s a badge of honor.

SILVERMAN: [00:01:49] So what do you have against teachers, Walker Stapleton?

STAPLETON: [00:01:52] I have nothing against teachers. I have a lot against our school funding. And I have a lot against a a pension system which is eating up school budgets. And I think we have to fix the pension system in order to protect teachers, Craig, because the proposal that PERA has put forward in the Legislature this session would take 25 cents of every dollar we pay a teacher and siphon it off to backfill unfunded liabilities in our massively bankrupt pension system. And people wonder why dollars aren’t getting in the classroom where they belong! It is because the biggest albatross on the backs of our 176 school districts is mandatory, unsustainable funding for a bankrupt pension system. So, I care more about the kids and the teachers than I do [about] a bankrupt retirement system.

SILVERMAN: [00:02:32] Who was your favorite teacher of all time?

STAPLETON: [00:02:35] My favorite teacher? I had a history teacher named John Vanetta, who taught me AP History. And I loved it. And I did well because I was interested in the subject matter.

SILVERMAN: [00:02:44] What was the school, then?

STAPLETON: [00:02:44] It was called Brunswick School. And I was less interested in chemistry and physics, to be honest.

SILVERMAN: [00:02:52] Yeah, me too! Oh my God. If I had to go through chemistry and physics –. Did you have a nickname in high school?

STAPLETON: [00:03:02] Uh, “Stapes.”

SILVERMAN: [00:03:02] Stapes. Yeah. It’s like my nickname was “Silf”. You can’t –. Were you playing sports?

STAPLETON: [00:03:06] I did.

SILVERMAN: [00:03:06] Did people call for the ball and say, “Stapes!”?

STAPLETON: [00:03:10] Yeah.

SILVERMAN: [00:03:10] What sports did you play?

STAPLETON: [00:03:12] I played baseball. I played tennis. And I was more — I was a rackets guy. Baseball and tennis were my — were my two.

SILVERMAN: [00:03:19] I hear you’re quite a stick in golf.

STAPLETON: [00:03:20] Not really. My game is highly variable, Craig, depending on how much I play. So right now, my handicap is in the high double digits, I would have to say.

SILVERMAN: [00:03:31] No, not high double digits.

STAPLETON: [00:03:33] [laughs]

SILVERMAN: [00:03:33] You’ve been a single handicapper. What, are you trying to get a good bet with me on the first tee?

STAPLETON: [00:03:38] We’ll do that will do that! We’ll do that. I’m not a sandbagger. I promise you, I’m not a sandbagger. We’ll do a bet.

SILVERMAN: [00:03:41] Well, what’s the lowest score you ever shot?

STAPLETON: [00:03:41] I’ve shot in the 80s before, infrequently.

SILVERMAN: [00:03:41] Just in the 80s? That’s all you can do?

STAPLETON: [00:03:49] Yeah, 80s.

SILVERMAN: [00:03:49] You’ve never shot in the 70 so 60s?

STAPLETON: [00:03:52] No, not–not– not if — not unless I’m keeping score like Bill Clinton.

SILVERMAN: [00:03:56] Oh, boy! Well, there you go. Um, that’s interesting. Um, Remind everybody where you went to college.

STAPLETON: [00:04:06] I went to Williams College in Northwest Massachusetts, on the Vermont border, a bastion of conservative thought.

SILVERMAN: [00:04:13] Not really? You’re being sarcastic?

STAPLETON: [00:04:14] Yeah, not exactly! Although I did get an e-mail from the new Conservative Union president that was formed there, saying — inviting me to come to campus to speak. But no, that that institution is politically correct to a fault, unfortunately.

SILVERMAN: [00:04:30] And how did you handle that?

STAPLETON: [00:04:33] You know, there was a newspaper in college called the Williams Free Press. We had we had William F. Buckley come and speak to us and have dinner with us. He brought — you know, I’ll never forget this, Craig. This is my junior year, and somebody — he got in, he came in, and he said — he brought his own flask, and he asked for a mixer [laughs] — before he spoke! So, there’s a few brave souls!

SILVERMAN: [00:04:56] [laughs] And were you –. Right! But were you part of the Williams Free Press?

STAPLETON: [00:05:03] I was. I wrote some for the paper and you know, they wrote some articles about you know different things with teachers. Not a lot has changed in terms of political correctness on the college campus. So, a good friend, Damon Vangelis, who now lives Boulder — of all places, — he was the head of the Williams Free Press, a conservative paper there.

SILVERMAN: [00:05:20] I went to Colorado College, so I know what you’re talking about. And I participated in their paper –The Catalyst. And I would ruffle feathers, because I was a little more conservative than they were. Were you like that with the Williams Free Press?

STAPLETON: [00:05:33] I think I definitely ruffled some feathers, I’m sure. I also got along great with some teachers that I think were more libertarian oriented. But you know, I definitely — it was definitely the exception rather than the norm, in terms of teachers. So — and the class sizes were small. So, I think it’s gotten worse since I was in college decades ago.

SILVERMAN: [00:05:54] I think, yeah, the orthodoxy that is enforced, the political correctness. Who are your political heroes? Is William F. Buckley one of them?

STAPLETON: [00:06:04] I like William F. Buckley. I’d say, my my political heroes — I’m a big fan of Al Simpson, in neighboring Wyoming, because he managed — through humor — to get along with people on both sides of the aisle. And I think that we’ve lost that ability to connect in Washington. I think Washington — and the rhetoric — has become really angry and vitriolic. And it didn’t — I don’t think it was that way during Al Simpson’s time. And so, you know, just from a standpoint of being a good person and a hysterical human being, I’m a big Al Simpson fan.

SILVERMAN: [00:06:39] I am too. I met him in person at the CNBC debate, up in Boulder. He was there observing. And we got up close and personal with Donald Trump that day. And now he’s partner with Michael and Peter Berg, Scott Eldridge, and all the good people at Burg Simpson. And I’m just thinking about law firms. You’re not a lawyer.

STAPLETON: [00:07:00] I’m not a lawyer.

SILVERMAN: [00:07:01] But, uh –.

STAPLETON: [00:07:02] I’m a businessman.

SILVERMAN: [00:07:03] Do you have a law firm that represents your campaign? Or are you affiliated with any law firm?

STAPLETON: [00:07:07] Yes. We’ve got — we have our — we have John Zakham, who’s been a longtime friend, is one of our lawyers. And we’ve got a guy named Chris Murray, too, who’s another attorney. So, I have actually — the process of running for office, you know, makes you more familiar with attorneys, for sure. And when I had to sue the pension system for a lack of transparency during my first year in the Treasurer’s office I became intimately familiar with the lawsuit process. I had never sued anybody before in my life, so–.

SILVERMAN: [00:07:36] Well, an underlying aspect of the Hancock hanky panky scandal is, “Is he beholden to law firms?” And I can tell you that people on talk radio and out here — and even me, as a lawyer, I see the outside influence of law firms.

STAPLETON: [00:07:55] Right.

STAPLETON: [00:07:55] You can look at the dossier that Hillary Clinton purchased against Donald Trump, and there was a go-between — Perkins & Cooey, a big national law firm. And these national law firms can control a lot of things. They write a lot of legislation. And when I talk about the grip of some big law firms, I see you nodding your head. What goes through your mind, and could you be captive of that yourself?

STAPLETON: [00:08:21] Well, I think, n–. Absol–. I would say, happily, no! Before I came into office, I ran a small but publicly traded real estate company on the Nasdaq, which we were able to take private. I am fortunate to have had a successful career in the private sector, creating jobs, balancing budgets, and building a successful company. And I think when you come into office — and you’ve had success in the private sector — it makes you not beholden to anybody because you know if the music stops and you don’t get elected to the next office, the best thing that you can do is go back to the private sector — the real world — and make money. And if you have an ability to make money, regardless of what political affiliation you may have, it makes you fearless and it makes you less susceptible to lobbyists and law firms and money. And money is corrosive in politics, whether you’re a Republican or Democrat because it’s really the interests of the lobbyists and the law firms behind the lobbyists that are spending money down at our Capitol to influence legislation. And that’s true with Republicans and Democrats.

SILVERMAN: [00:09:17] And how do you avoid it? Is is moral character? Because, it’s just a natural inclination. Somebody is spending a boatload of money to advertise for Walker Stapleton on the radio right now. And then you get contributions. There are campaign limits.

STAPLETON: [00:09:32] Absolutely! Well, look, first of all, in terms of money in politics, it’s going to take a ton of money to beat Jared Polis. Jared Polis has unprecedented resources, has the ability to self fund unlike anybody we’ve ever seen in Colorado. And I’m committed — at least on on my side, for my campaign — to raising the resources necessary to complete the ultimate goal, which is to make sure that Colorado never has Jared Polis for my three children — school age children — and for anybody else’s kids, or future generations in the state.

SILVERMAN: [00:09:59] Right. But if someone helps you big time in that battle, aren’t you a little beholden to them?

STAPLETON: [00:10:03] Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I will be beholden to what I think is right. And I’ve shown that in the treasurer’s office. A lot of people didn’t think I should have sued the pension system. And after I got a $75-per-hour lawyer from the Attorney General’s office, and PERA got a $750-an-hour lawyer, it turned out that I learned a lot that a $750-an-hour trial lawyer could wipe the floor with a $75-an-hour trial lawyer. And I’ve taken positions that have been consistently unpopular, both from a political standpoint, a PR standpoint. But I am committed to making decisions and doing what’s right. And I think Colorado has suffered immeasurably because our leader at the top of this — of the food chain, here — the current governor — is reflexively predisposed towards not making decisions. He’s a consensus driven leader. And if you look at healthcare, if you look at the pension system, if you look at infrastructure, one issue after another we have punted on. And the issues — the economic issues in this state — have only grown in size and scale and scope. And they need to be addressed. And in order for them to be addressed, you’ve got to make a decision in public office. And when you make a decision, you piss people off. That’s a fact of life!

SILVERMAN: [00:11:17] Do you think John Hickenlooper has been improperly influenced to avoid making tough decisions?

STAPLETON: [00:11:20] I hope not. I don’t — I hope not. I hope not.

SILVERMAN: [00:11:22] He’s just indecisive by nature?

STAPLETON: [00:11:25] I think that if you don’t make decisions in a public policy context, then people can transpose on to you what they think you’re for. “I think Craig’s been OK to the energy industry. He hasn’t really done anything to overtly, you know, put us in a bad position. Yeah, Craig’s been okay, as far as health care is concerned. You know, he –.”.

SILVERMAN: [00:11:43] Are you talking about me?

STAPLETON: [00:11:43] [laughs]. I’m just saying that when when you don’t make decisions, you’re an empty canvas that people can paint anything they want to.

SILVERMAN: [00:11:51] I see. Well, you bring up the name Craig, and I’m right here, but I know you have Craig –.

STAPLETON: [00:11:55] That’s my son’s name! I love the name ‘Craig’! And my dad!

SILVERMAN: [00:11:57] Your dad’s named Craig, right?

STAPLETON: [00:11:57] So, I don’t want to pick on ‘Craig’. Craig is my son and my dad’s name.

SILVERMAN: [00:11:57] How does somebody decide to name their son Craig? I suppose it’s because your father is named Craig.

STAPLETON: [00:12:05] Yes, I named him after my dad, who I absolutely love.

SILVERMAN: [00:12:08] And was your dad the first Craig?

STAPLETON: [00:12:10] My dad was the first Craig, yeah.

SILVERMAN: [00:12:12] You don’t see a lot of historical figures named Craig. Craig Morton, maybe. But –.

STAPLETON: [00:12:16] No. No, he got–. My son, now, who’s 10, gets called ‘Greg’ all the time. And it drives him nuts!

SILVERMAN: [00:12:22] Yeah. No, I hate that.

STAPLETON: [00:12:22] And he says, “It’s ‘Craig’! It’s ‘Craig’!”

SILVERMAN: [00:12:27] ‘Craig’, with a ‘C’ — a hard ‘C’. Yeah. But your wisdom! You were part of a company on NASDAQ. Now you’re State Treasurer. Seems to me that if PERA was properly invested in — just as Standard & Poor’s index, or Dow Jones– wouldn’t proper investing have gotten us out of the problem?

STAPLETON: [00:12:45] This is not — this is not — this issue is not about taking away anything from anybody. It’s about ensuring that Colorado is making promises to younger and future workers that it can afford to pay for. And I’ve been demonized in villainized as the guy — the bogeyman — who’s trying to steal Rob and Betty’s retirement. The fact of the matter is, if you’ve been in the system and for a long period of time, it’s not fair that the state retroactively changes the rules of the game on you. And number two, from a legal standpoint, it would be litigated till the cows come home. The changes that need to be made, need to be younger and newer workers in the system. The problem, Craig, is that the way that it’s worked in the past is that you assume lollipops and rainbows from an investment assumption standpoint — which works for municipalities and states all over the country, because we don’t have the money to fund these plants properly, so it’s kind of a wink-wink, nod-nod, “We’re going to achieve this!” And then you pervasively underfund the plan because of your pie-in-the-sky assumptions. And then you wait for deferred liabilities to build up on the balance sheets of schools and cities all across Colorado until one of them goes bankrupt, as we’ve seen happen as a domino effect in Illinois and Rhode Island and San Bernardino and everywhere else. And that’s what’s going on in Colorado. And the perfect storm is that most of the legislators, regardless if they’re Republican or Democrat, are — have a vested economic interest because they’re plan member in the DB [defined benefit] system, too!

SILVERMAN: [00:14:05] Right.

STAPLETON: [00:14:05] So, in order to reform the system, they would have to actually be taking a vote against their own economic self-interest! And most are not willing to do it. Surprise, surprise!

SILVERMAN: [00:14:14] Yes or know question, I hope: Can a Governor Walker Stapleton fix PERA?

STAPLETON: [00:14:19] Yes.

SILVERMAN: [00:14:19] All right. Let’s move on to another topic. Florida just decided to change their gun laws, in the wake of what happened at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. They raised the age limit to buy an AR-15 — and those kind of weapons — to 21. They put in a further waiting period. And they’re going to arm some teachers. If you were governor and such legislation came to your desk in Colorado, would you sign it?

STAPLETON: [00:14:41] So, we already have school districts — Pikes Peak Region — we have school districts that have made a local decision to arm teachers right now in Colorado, and have for some time — for more than a year. And I support that. I think that should be a local decision that school districts make as to whether it makes sense to arm teachers. And if they vote to, I think they should be able to. I have a problem with raising the age limit because I think it’s hard to tell an 18 year-old kid that he or she can carry a rifle in Afghanistan but they can’t hold a gun legally and lawfully. I am the father of three children –a boy who’s 10, a girl who’s 6, and a girl who’s 4 — school aged children! it is the worst nightmare I could ever imagine for myself and my wife Jenna to go to drop our kids off at school and have a tragedy like that ensue. And so, what I am for is a three point practical plan. Number one, I think we need to have a single point of entry at schools. Number two, as part of that plan, I’m for metal detectors if that’s necessary. A single point of entry into schools would go a long way –in my mind — to helping school safety. I think that number — the second part of my three part plan is that I think that there has been a failure amongst mental health officials and doctors to not report individuals who are having mental health issues. If you’re a psychiatrist or a psychologist and you have an individual who’s a threat to himself or his community, you have as part of your Hippocratic Oath to actually inform law enforcement. And yet, if you look at a lot of the mass shootings, that loophole has not happened that’s been a loophole between medical professionals not reporting to authorities. And we can’t have that. And then third, the system can’t fail the students and the teachers. In Parkland, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI visited this individual more than 30 times, and yet he was still able to commit this heinous, horrific act. And I don’t know if the deputies were hiding behind a column, or what, but they certainly weren’t in the school doing their jobs.

SILVERMAN: [00:16:41] Are you a member of the NRA?

STAPLETON: [00:16:43] Yes.

SILVERMAN: [00:16:44] How long?

STAPLETON: [00:16:45] I’ve been a member — uh, I’ve been a member for approximately, probably a year.

SILVERMAN: [00:16:50] Do you think people should be allowed to possess weapons — big weapons, like AR-15s, maybe up to a dozen of them — because they’re needed to fight the governmnet?

STAPLETON: [00:17:01] Well, here’s the problem. I actually support the the President’s plan to end bump stocks. I can’t see any reason that bump stocks can be anything other than a weapon used for mass carnage. But an assault weapons ban, I feel like, is misguided legislation. And the reason is, is because we have more than 10 million weapons that are in legal, lawful possession. There’s 150 different classifications of an assault weapon. And so, [if] we pass a ban, you know, what’s going to happen? Are these individuals — law abiding citizens in Colorado and elsewhere — going to voluntarily turn in their weapons? Is the ATF going to go door to door in a search and seizure process? That’s a violation of the Second Amendment. And anybody, Craig, — and you know this as well as me and anybody else –anybody who is having mental health issues and is evil and dark as an individual who wants to get a firearm — with 10 million classified or more assault weapons — can get access to one. So, I’m not sure that actually passing a ban will reduce gun violence.

SILVERMAN: [00:17:59] Right. But philosophically, a lot of people possess guns. They say, “I want to protect myself and my family, if — God forbid — there’s a threat. But then other people say, “I need it to fight tyranny.” And they’re arming up to fight the government. Do you support that philosophy?

STAPLETON: [00:18:14] I support legal and lawful gun ownership in Colorado, which we’ve had for decades. And I support people being able to, you know, lend a rifle to their next door neighbor to go shooting for a day. I support all the millions of legal and lawful gun owners across this country and specifically in Colorado who have never committed a crime and never plan to.

SILVERMAN: [00:18:35] The other day, I was at the governor’s forum at the Arapahoe County Republican Breakfast Club where I’ve been privileged to speak many times. And I saw you there. And you spoke beautifully. And you really reminded me of something, because you talked about drive on I-25 that you have to make to get to work from the Tech Center area to downtown. And you said it used to take 18 minutes. Now it takes 45 minutes. And I looked at my watch and it was 8:45. And I realized that Handcock — anti-Hancock– rally was going to start at 9:30 on the steps of the City and County building. So I left a little early. Thanks for reminding me! But I-25, I-70, traffic. I think the governor’s race may boil down to that. Why would you be the best selection?

STAPLETON: [00:19:23] Well, I’m the one who’s been dealing with the Department of Transportation on the frontlines. And last year, I will — I remember it vividly — I had Shaillen Bhatt, who was a political appointee under the governor, who doesn’t have any core competency building roads and bridges, is not an engineer by training — tell me that he was planning on spending %150 million out of CDOT’s budget on new offices for bureaucrats while the rest of us were left sitting in traffic. I told him that was incredibly backwards and stupid of him, because it would set off the debate on infrastructure funding on the wrong foot. Because ultimately, what happened is, the department sent a message: “We’re willing to commit $50 million of our budget for bonding, but we’re willing to commit $150 million of new offices for our bureaucrats. And I think that the taxpayers thought that that was a raw deal. And it was the position of the governor’s office that we could actually go to the ballot and get a revenue increase passed. And we didn’t even get it on the ballot. And we brought the same amount during the last legislative session for funding our roads and infrastructure as Bill Owens brought in the early 2000s, even though our population has increased by more than a million people and our needs have expanded exponentially. And it’s absolutely a question of leadership from the governor’s office. When I was Treasurer in my first term — [I’m] still Treasurer now — I passed debt consolidation. This made it so that every single state agency, with the exception of Higher Ed and the Department Transportation, would have to issue debt under the Treasurer’s office. So we put — we did the first refinancing mechanism, ever, because state agencies were refinancing their debt to take advantage of a pervasively low interest rate environment. We made sure the process for hiring bankers and lawyers was a blind one. But the Department of Transportation and Higher Ed are not subject to those processes of having to go through legislative approval or the Treasurer’s office. That’s why, when they made the decision to issue debt for their new offices, I could do nothing about it. And the legislature could do nothing about it. And we need that department to be audited, top-down. I mentioned at the debate that one of the many county commissioners–. We have close to 60 in more than half the counties in Colorado supporting me. Roger Rash, a county commissioner from Montrose, a 30-year employee of CDOT before he became a county commissioner, said that the agency has no bid contracts, right, left, and center. They have consultants who’ve left the department who get their get — as their first client — the Department of Transportation. I mean, this needs to be looked at because we need taxpayers to know that if Craig Silverman and Walker Stapleton are spending money with the Department of Transportation, we know where our money is going.

SILVERMAN: [00:21:56] I like your passion. And it sounds like you’re pissed off the way I am. Just driving I-25, but not only is it slow, it’s like demolition derby!

STAPLETON: [00:22:04] Yeah. It’s totally nuts! And it’s affecting the economic development of the future for Colorado because, you know, whether it’s Amazon on the –or smaller companies, or medium-sized companies — people don’t–.

SILVERMAN: [00:22:19] Do you want Amazon to come here?

STAPLETON: [00:22:19] I think Amazon would be helpful to Colorado, but I’m not for any sort of, you know, giveaways. I’m for incentives. Incentives that–.

SILVERMAN: [00:22:26] Do you want the Olympics to come here?

STAPLETON: [00:22:30] Only if somebody can show me that it’s making money. That’s what I — you know, I’m not for losing money by having the Olympics here. I don’t see how that makes sense, as a businessman.

SILVERMAN: [00:22:35] Right. It seems to me — and I’m rushing because we have limited time. We only have a few minutes left. But it seems like the growth that has gone on in Denver is oriented around no cars, around the light rail, around public transportation, And they’re trying to make everybody ride a bike, or walk, or take a train.

STAPLETON: [00:22:54] Right! And you can force people to do that. You and I both know that the government can’t force our behavior. There’s a reason why the light rail is, you know, 50 percent empty: because people would rather– find it more convenient to take their car, maybe even take their bike. You can’t force behavior. We need to spend money on the nerve center of our transportation needs. And the nerve center is I-25 and I-70. That’s what we need to commit to doing. And that’s what a strong governor has to deliver on.

SILVERMAN: [00:23:22] Let’s go to the sad story last Sunday, I-70 and Brighton Boulevard, right near the Denver Collisseum. Ivan Zamarripa Castañeda caused a collision with a King Soopers’ truck driver. The truck driver [was] killed in a conflagration. Castañeda runs away from the scene. He’s an illegal immigrant. He should not have been in Colorado. What gpes through Walker Stapleton’s mind on that story?

STAPLETON: [00:23:47] This problem has gotten completely out of control. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to Sheriff Bill Elder, down in El Paso [County], who right now is being sued by the ACLU and multiple left wing groups because he he’s holding somebody under an ICE hold who has been convicted of multiple felonies. There was a story last week, Craig, of the Oakland Mayor actually warning over 100 people that had committed felonies — armed robbery and burglary — that ICE was coming in to try and detain them. That warning criminals in Oakland, this has just gotten completely out of control! And we need a governor who has the back of law enforcement officials on the front lines — sheriffs and DA’s — who are simply trying to enforce the law and keep our communities safe. And I simply do not understand why we’re treating people that commit crimes, who are illegal aliens, with more rights and protections than law abiding U.S. citizens.

SILVERMAN: [00:24:40] Walker Stapleton, our last couple of minutes together. How did you do in the caucus? What’s your path to victory? And I head you talk about Jared Polis. Are you still pretty sure he’s going to be the opponent? Or is Cary Kennedy a possibility? I had Mike Johnston in my studio last week. Just give us your assessment of where you are, and what the race is shaping up to be.

STAPLETON: [00:25:03] Well, as you know, Craig, I’m the only person in this race that has run twice statewide and won both times. I’m two for two. I intend to make it three for three this year. And I’m not concerned about how anybody else does on our side. I’m concerned about facing Jared Polis because I think he will be the nominee on the Democratic side. On our side, caucus night was awesome. I was in Jefferson County at Bear Creek High School and at Lakewood High School and we won every single precinct that was conducted there. And we won precincts and straw polls in Pueblo. We won them in Boulder. We won them all across the state of Colorado. And so, I am happy that we have a groundswell of grassroots support because I am the only candidate — and activists and party faithful are recognizing this — I’m the only candidate that can beat Jared Polis, on our side. I’m absolutely convinced of that. And I think the straw polls and activist support that we have all across the state are reflective of that.

SILVERMAN: [00:25:58] Walker Stapleton, I know you’ve got places to go, people to see. I appreciate your access on this show.

STAPLETON: [00:26:04] Thank you, Craig.

SILVERMAN: [00:26:04] And you’re welcome anytime.

STAPLETON: [00:26:05] Thanks. Thanks for having me.