Grassroots Radio Colorado, Victor Head & Tim Knight, September 23, 2013

Station:     KLZ, 560 AM

Show:        Grassroots Radio Colorado

Guests:     Head, Knight


Date:        September 23, 2013

Topics:      Recall Elections, Basic Freedom Defense Fund, Pueblo Freedom and Rights, State Senator Angela Giron, Senator and Senate President John Morse, El Paso County, GOP Chairman Ryan Call, Second Amendment, Gun Legislation, Libertarian, Jan Brooks, George Rivera, Bernie Herpin, Infighting, Donations, In-kind Donations, Becky Mizel, Plumbers, Reform

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SUBSTITUTE HOST, LIBERTARIAN, AND HOST OF ‘HEART OF THE MATTER’ ON KLZ 560AM, STACY PETTY:  […] Why don’t you tell us about your past weekend, here.

28 YEAR OLD PLUMBER, PUEBLO RESIDENT, & FOUNDER OF PUEBLO FREEDOM AND RIGHTS, VICTOR HEAD:  Well, it’s been pretty crazy. We’re still riding the high of winning and everything, especially by such a big margin. It’s been pretty neat.  A lot of people have come out in support of us, now, of course. Everyone is supportive of a winner.  But we’re kind of weeding through people and organizations and seeing who is really going to support us when we need it again.  And kind of see what our next steps are going to be as far as repealing the laws and maybe even getting a couple more lawmakers out that don’t deserve to be there anymore.  But it’s been really fun, winning and having everything go our way, so.

SUBSTITUTE HOST AND FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE COLORADO LIBERTARIAN PARTY, DAVID K. WILLIAMS:  We’re talking with Victor Head, founder of the Pueblo Freedom and Rights group that successfully recalled state senator Angela Giron.  And we also have Tim Knight, who’s the founder of the Basic Freedom Defense Fund who was in charge – or one of the people  in charge of the successful effort to recall Senator John Morse.  Tim, kind of tell us how your weekend was.

FOUNDER OF BASIC FREEDOM DEFENSE FUND AND COLORADO SPRINGS RESIDENT, TIM KNIGHT:  You know, we’re still working through the math, and sorting, just like Victor did, and we’re crunching numbers.  And, you know, it’s pretty amazing.  We looked at the numbers and we saw that the 1,800 Libertarians that voted in the Springs were the thing that pushed us over the top. We were pretty excited about that.

WILLIAMS:  Yeah, and let’s explain that a little bit, because there was a write-in candidate that the Libertarians had sponsored.  Tell people about that.

KNIGHT:  Yes.  Indeed.  In this unique situation, the first question was, “yes.  Check ‘yes’.”  And then the Democrats did not field a candidate beyond Morse, so the Republicans and the Libertarians all seem to go at each other all the time, over, “Well, you knocked us off,”  or “you did this.”  In this case, it was  a neat thing because – I mean, Victor  and I were both about the ‘yes’ candidate and we couldn’t speak to the person behind that. But, what we saw was good people sticking up for the Constitution first.  [George] Washington told us to do that.  He warned us, “Think of the country first.”  And I think a lot of people did that.

WILLIAMS:  Let me reset that, quickly, because I know a lot of people aren’t following this as closely as others.  On the recall election, there’s two questions.  The first question is, “Do you want to recall—either John Morse or Angela Giron—yes or no.”  And then, after that, no matter what you vote on that, then the next question is, “Who do you want to replace Senator Giron or Morse?”  And in Pueblo, there was one candidate – a Republican.  And in El Paso County there was one on the ballot—that was the Republican.  The Libertarians had a write-in candidate—

PETTY:  Jan Brooks

WILLIAMS:  Jan Brooks – yes, thank you.  And so, the Libertarians, I think the argument goes, and I think you agreed with this, was that the 1800 people that went out to vote and write in Jan Brooks,  all voted to recall Morse.  So that helped put that over the hump.

KNIGHT:  Pretty much. Pretty much, yep.

PETTY:  Well, and surprisingly, just you know, to let the listeners know, Jan Brooks as a write-in candidate – write-in! – received 17% of the vote, which is monumental.  And I don’t really know much about her.  I’m looking forward to seeing her in future races.  But there’s been a lot of blowback, specifically to you, Victor, on a national level, on a national level, and is that lightening up any, or is it growing worse?

HEAD:  Um, actually, I mean, It hasn’t been that bad.  Um, I think we’ve had a huge effect on a national level, though.  We never started out to be like that. You know, this was a local issue, a Colorado issue, and then of course the recalls are just within your little Senate district.  Um, but it’s been good, honestly.  Lots of groups reaching out to us, asking us how we did it, looking for tips, even the blueprints, basically, “Tell us how to do this in our state, or our county, or whatever it might be.”  We kind of re-energized, I think, a lot of grassroots people, because I guess people forgot about recalls, and I myself had never really considered it or anything, but as a real viable way to finally do something relative.  We can all go to the all the rallies and all the ‘rah rah’ things that we want to – go to all of the meetings, but at the end of the day if they’re not listening and it’s not really being effective, a recall seems like an outlet that is very effective and they have to pay attention to.  And so, we’ve actually seen a lot of positive stuff come out of this.


[commercial break]

WILLIAMS:  […]  [After forgetting the guests’ names during their introduction] Gentlemen, I understand you all had a press conference today.  Can you tell us about that?  Tim, we’ll start with you.

KNIGHT:  Yeah, sure.  When we had gotten through the signature phase and we were dead broke, we went in search of allies, and we asked to have a sit down with the state party chair.  And we asked for a little assistance on the legal. And, um, kind of, they never really got back to us.  A couple guys were selling things and – actually, a lot of guys were selling things, and we asked the good people of Colorado and elsewhere to help us get through that.  And, um, you know, we also found out through various means that the Republican party was trying to shut down the recalls, by calling various power players in the county GOPs and saying, “Look, you got to put a halt to this –slow this down.”  So, Victor and I both kind of ran into a brick wall there, when we thought we’d have some allies, and they didn’t come through.  As a matter of fact, they made it even harder for us.  So, yeah, it was a —  we wanted to make the– to get the record pretty straight today.  Victor probably has more to add to that.

WILLIAMS:  Yeah.  Victor, what was the rationale behind the state party not more actively assisting you?

HEAD:  You know, I’m not really sure what their thought was, other than that they didn’t approve of it, initially.  And so they were just upset that basically we sprung this as ad as ‘we, the people’ without asking for their blessing first.

WILLIAMS:  Well, good for you!

HEAD:  I mean, that’s really it.  It wasn’t on their calendar, it wasn’t on their agendas, so they didn’t want to have anything to do with it, which would have been fine if they left it there.  But then, to actually actively work against us and tell people not to help us, that was a pretty big thing to work through.  Like Tim said, you know, we were down to about where the recalls were about ready to shut down, because we were out of money and needed some help.  And then to go to them and get snubbed, it wasn’t a good thing to work through. It was pretty hard.  And then, to further it, now that we are successful, they then start sending out emails and raising money off of our work, saying, “Look at everything we did!  Give us money.”  And meanwhile, we still had outstanding legal bills and things.  And we’re like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Not only did you not support us, you worked against us!  And now you’re making money off of our backs?”  So, I—[sounds of dismay and chuckling at the irony.]

PETTY:  Yeah.  Let’s repeat all of that and do like a Cliff Notes version.  You guys did the work.  You accomplished these recall elections.  You asked for help from the state party.  You got no money from the state party.  And they’re riding on your coattails, asking for money – to donate to their party and not to your cause.

HEAD:  Correct.

PETTY:  Yeah.  I mean, that’s – this has been a long-time, internal battle within the GOP.  And I’m unaware of what the climate is in other states, but in the Colorado GOP – and it’s one of the reasons I left, the establishment is what I call them—the establishment is in charge.  And they don’t like the individuals, such as yourself, coming in. You guys are on the streets.  You know what your neighbors are thinking. You know what your customers are thinking. You know what your fellow employees are thinking, and how they want to see the party evolve and grow and change.  And to be shut down like that is – well, one: it doesn’t surprise me.  Because I know these people.  But, two:  this is monumental in changing the flow of the Colorado Republican party.

KNIGHT:  Right.  I think – And we find out now that they’re keeping an enemies list.  I thought that was really interesting.  I just really don’t understand.  The Republicans were given an opportunity– really, two silver platters, to really connect with the people, the citizens.  They were given that opportunity.  We asked for help, and we weren’t given it.  And, you know, coattails being what they are,–“ain’t that grand?” – we can go back to Washington and say, “Look what we did in Colorado!”  But the “we” people travelling to Washington didn’t do it!  Victor and a lot of guys down in Pueblo, and a whole bunch of people in Colorado Springs did this!

WILLIAMS:  Victor, let me follow up on a question, there, for you.  In The Denver Post, Ryan Call […] said that – or according to the paper, said that once the recalls were certified, the GOP donated about $40,000 – the maximum it could contribute to recruit and help senators-elect Bernie Herpin and George Rivera of Pueblo.  What is he referring to there, and is that true?

HEAD:  Right.  They absolutely did. What they did is they donated money to the candidates themselves.  And in that, they didn’t  even donate actual money, that I’m aware of.  They donated ‘in-kind’ donations to the maximum amount, being phone banks, flyers, door hangers, that sort of thing.  And that’s great, but that didn’t help the recall effort.  As you guys were saying at the beginning of the show, the candidates are kind of a secondary to the recall and everything.


HEAD:  It’s – you know, that’s expected.  Once the recall is there, they have to field a candidate.  That’s expected.  The point here was that we looked for some help, you know, as we were getting the signatures certified, we needed legal help.  And they didn’t think we had a chance.  You know, as a matter of fact, Ryan Call came down on election night, down to Pueblo to tell George Rivera how to graciously concede.  He wanted to help him on his concession speech.  Because he said, “You guys don’t have a chance down here.  We need to graciously concede, make sure there’s no sour grapes, and just move on!”

WILLIAMS:  And he won by like 12 percentage points, didn’t he?

HEAD:  Yeah, then we blow it out by twelve percent!  And then, he tries to come down and give a big speech at our victory party!  And we shut him out!  We said, “NO!  Get the hell out of here!  Are you kidding me?  You were just here four hours ago telling us how we were going to lose!  You’re not going to take credit for this!”  So, it’s – you know, like you were saying, it’s probably politics as usual in the party.  But at this point, we have momentum.  We have some grassroots energy, and we’re going to demand some reform in this party and some reform in the leadership, or the party is going to die, I’m pretty sure.   I mean, they’re going to be wholly ineffective in 2014 and it’s just going to, you know —  it’s not going to help anybody.

WILLIAMS:  But on this –

KNIGHT:  Yeah.  And people keep asking us, what the Republicans – what they need to do.  And they need bold, new leadership.  That’s the answer.  They can’t continue to stick with what they’re doing.  Because they’re losing, they’re not connecting with the people, and that is a serious problem.  And rank and file – as the term is—Republicans need to say, “No more!”

WILLIAMS:  […]  I kind of get the picture of—or the image of the rooster taking credit for the sun coming up because he crowed about it, except it’s even worse, because the rooster doesn’t actually try to stop the sun from coming up.

[laughter all around]

HEAD:  Pretty much!  You know, I’ve got to give a shout out to the county level, though.   In Pueblo county, the county chairwoman and the party there was greatly helpful to us.  They supported us, against Ryan Call’s wishes.

WILLIAMS:  Becky Mizel?

HEAD:  Yeah, Becky Mizel is awesome!  You know, not all the GOP is bad here, by any means.  But there are some key top players and the – I do believe the party as a whole needs to reform and needs to invite more people in.  And like Tim just said, what they’ve been doing hasn’t worked for the last – oh, I don’t know, — couple decades in this state.  So –

PETTY:  Yeah, and then that’s exactly right.  And that’s the point that I’m often trying to make to individuals, is, you know, “Look at your record of wins and losses.  You’re not doing what we need you to do at this point in time.”  You have individuals, such as yourselves, that come in, you take on – you know, essentially this is a David and Goliath situation.  And you forged ahead.  You ruffled feathers.  And you made a difference.  And I think it’s — I mean, as you were saying earlier, you’re having individuals contact you about, “What do we do?  How can we follow the pattern that you did to accomplish these same goals?”  This is what needs to happen.  And I’m – I mean, for the first time in a long time, I’m actually excited about what is happening in the GOP.  It’s been a long time.

WILLIAMS:  This wasn’t the GOP. That’s the — I think that’s the entire point.

PETTY:  Well, ‘the downfall of the GOP’.  Is that better worded, sir? Okay.  I mean, I know all of these individuals, I mean, I have lunch with some of these individuals that I define as ‘the establishment’.  And I know that they are good guys, but there are some power players out there that are trying to subdue what so many of — individuals that identify themselves as ‘Liberty Republicans’ need to and want to accomplish.  And we have to do this to save the party.  And starting here is just – it’s worked as such motivation for individuals across this country.  I’m excited!

WILLIAMS:  And Tim, so what’s next for your group?

KNIGHT:  Well, actually, Victor and I just had a little sit down, and I think what we’re –.  We have many projects in the fire, actually.  But one thing we’re going to do is –.  The reason why the Second Amendment was attacked in Colorado was because the forces defending it here in Colorado are so divided.  And so busy running other Senate campaigns and raising money for West Virginia fights, and I think everyone forgot about Colorado and protecting that.  So, Victor and I and a lot of other guys are actually thinking about getting together and creating a Second Amendment group that focuses strictly on Colorado and remembers that we’re going to defend that right specifically.  You know, again, a lot of people are going to say, “You’re pushing rocks uphill. You’ll never get it done.”  Well, I think that Victor and I, and a lot of other people have learned that we can.  So, we’re going to do that, among other things.

WILLIAMS:  That’s very good. And then, Victor, how was the turnout for the media today at your press conference?  Do you anticipate some more media coverage, following up?

HEAD:  Yeah, you know, it was good.  I think we’re going to get the message out, get the point across that, you know, we’re not trying to cause infighting or anything.  But, you know, we’re just demanding some reform.  We did what everyone said was impossible.  And we need to [inaudible] that to other people and demand some reform here within the party and keep this momentum going.  If we just go back to doing the same stuff we did, then our fights this whole summer will probably be for naught.  So, uh, like–