Blog Archives

Polis Could Pay High Political Price for Anti-Fracking Initiatives

July 17, 2014

Fracking coloDENVER — Democratic Rep. Jared Polis may have no problem stiff-arming Gov. John Hickenlooper, but the next three weeks will show whether he has the nerve to do the same to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Polis is under intense pressure from state and national Democrats to pull his anti-fracking measures, Initiatives 88 and 89, rather than submit petitions by the Aug. 4 deadline. The initiatives need 86,105 valid signatures each to qualify for the Nov. 4 ballot.

The Boulder congressman had agreed to support a Hickenlooper-driven compromise bill on fracking, but the Democratic governor abandoned Wednesday his quest for a special legislative session after being unable to cobble together the votes.

That means there’s no easy out for Polis, not that he’s looking for one. In a statement Wednesday, he said he was committed to finding “a solution that will allow my constituents to live safely in their homes” and blamed the failure of the compromise bill on “special interests and out-of-state organizations.” Read more »

Polis Under Pressure to Drop Anti-Fracking Push After Special Session Fizzles

July 16, 2014

Rep. Jared Polis

Rep. Jared Polis

DENVER — Calls for Democratic Rep. Jared Polis to pull his anti-fracking initiatives intensified Wednesday after Gov. John Hickenlooper announced that he has abandoned his push for a special legislative session.

Hickenlooper had hoped to strike a deal with Polis by passing a compromise bill on hydraulic fracturing in a special session, but the governor was never able to come up with the votes, even though his party controls both houses of the state legislature.

State Rep. Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch) issued a statement calling for Polis to withdraw his initiatives “to avoid hurting families and devastating our communities.”

“There is one and only one person responsible for putting Colorado families and communities at risk, and that person is the millionaire congressman from Boulder,” said McNulty. “It’s his turn to clean it up, this mess is a wholly-owned subsidiary of millionaire Jared Polis.” Read more »

Poll Shows Beauprez Leading Hick for First Time in Governor’s Race

July 16, 2014

DENVER — A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper trailing for the first time in his bid for reelection as his job approval and favorability ratings decline.

Republican Bob Beauprez leads Hickenlooper by 44 to 43 percent, a virtual tie that’s within the survey’s margin of error, but an indicator that the governor may be in for the political fight of his life.

“Coloradans seem generally optimistic about the future and confidant in the state’s economy. But that is certainly not enough to open the way for a smooth ride to reelection for Gov. John Hickenlooper,” said Tim Malloy, the poll’s assistant director, in a statement.

Hickenlooper also saw his job approval rating drop from 52 to 48 percent since Quinnipiac’s April 23 survey. The Wednesday poll found that 48 percent approve and 46 percent disapprove of his job performance. Read more »

Rothenberg Calls Senate Race ‘Toss-Up’ as Poll Shows Udall Leading Gardner

July 15, 2014

Sen. Mark Udall

Sen. Mark Udall

DENVER — Political prognosticator Stuart Rothenberg downgraded Tuesday the Colorado Senate race from “leans Democrat” to “toss-up/tilt Democrat,” another indicator that the race has become one of the tightest and most-watched in the nation.

At the same time, an NBC News/Marist College poll released Tuesday found Democratic Sen. Mark Udall leading Republican Rep. Cory Gardner by 48 to 41 percentage points, although Republicans were quick to note that the poll surveyed registered voters, not likely voters.

Previous polls have found Udall and Gardner running neck and neck, with Udall typically a point or two ahead but within the margin of error.

The poll also found Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper leading Republican Bob Beauprez in the gubernatorial contest by a margin of 49 to 43 percentage points. A Rasmussen Reports poll released shortly after the June 24 primary found the candidates tied at 44 percent. Read more »

Grassroots Anti-Fracking Initiative Pulled Due to Lack of Support

July 14, 2014

frackDENVER—The organizer of Initiative 75, the grassroots anti-fracking measure, announced Monday that he has folded the statewide campaign after failing to collect enough signatures.

In a letter to the Pagosa Daily Post, lead organizer Cliff Willmeng said supporters made “heroic efforts” to place Initiative 75 on the Nov. 4 ballot, but were not on pace to gather the requisite 86,105 valid signatures needed by the Aug. 4 deadline.

Initiatives generally need about 125,000 signatures to clear the petition hurdle, given that many signatures are inevitably found to be invalid by the Secretary of State’s office.

“With just 9 weeks to get 125,000 signatures — and lacking hundreds of thousands in funding — we knew we faced an uphill battle for 2014,” said Willmeng in the post. “We took a tally this week and now know that we’re going to be well short of where we need to be. Disappointing, yes. But we have just started the fight for our Colorado communities.”

Willmeng vowed to resume the anti-fracking fight in 2016 with more money and better preparation. His group, the Colorado Community Rights Network, had only raised about $5,000 and was relying on an army of anti-fracking volunteers to circulate petitions. Read more »

Bloomberg: Colorado Gun Recall Towns So Rural, They Don’t Have Roads

July 10, 2014

bloomberg-gunsDENVER — In what may come as a surprise to residents of Colorado Springs and Pueblo, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn’t think those cities have roads.

Bloomberg told Rolling Stone that he was “sorry” about the recalls of two state senators last year over the Democratic state legislature’s gun-control laws, but added that their districts were so “rural” that, “I don’t think there’s roads.”

“In Colorado, we got a law passed. The NRA went after two or three state senators in a part of Colorado where I don’t think there’s roads,” said Bloomberg in the interview published online Wednesday.

“It’s as far rural as you can get,” said Bloomberg. “And, yes, they lost recall elections. I’m sorry for that. We tried to help ‘em. But the bottom line is, the law is on the books, and being enforced. You can get depressed about the progress, but on the other hand, you’re saving a lot of lives.”
Read more »

Obama Supporters Confused By Udall’s Absence

July 10, 2014

Protesters at President Obama’s speech.

Protesters at President Obama’s speech.

DENVER — Obama fans who gathered Wednesday at Cheesman Park hoping to catch a glimpse of the president after his speech were having a hard time understanding why Democratic Sen. Mark Udall wasn’t there.

“It just seems like a strange political decision,” said Matthew Tucker of Denver as he stood along the barricade with his dogs Mazzy and Pali outside the pavilion.

Speculation is rife that Udall and other top Democrats seeking reelection wanted to avoid being seen with the president, whose approval rating has plummeted in Colorado, a rationale that didn’t sit well with some Obama supporters.

“It bothers me a lot,” said Angela, a Capitol Hill resident who declined to give her last name. “It’s like, ‘You were there in the beginning, where are you now?’ Just walk the talk.”

The president’s low approval rating didn’t phase her: She wore a brown tank top bedazzled with the name “Obama,” and said voters need to realize that he wasn’t going to be able to resolve all issues. Read more »

Udall Rides to Defense of Obamacare While Ducking Obama

July 9, 2014

Sen. Mark Udall

Sen. Mark Udall

DENVER — He may want to keep his distance from President Barack Obama, but Democratic Sen. Mark Udall remains devoted to Obamacare.

Udall is slated to introduce Wednesday a bill that would compel for-profit employers to pay for coverage of all forms of birth control mandated under the Affordable Care Act, even if some of those contraceptives violate the religious convictions of business owners, according to multiple media outlets.

The bill would overturn the Supreme Court’s decision last week in the Hobby Lobby case, but it could also rev up the Democratic Party’s flagging campaign fortunes by doubling down on the “war on women” strategy. Read more »

Gessler Gets in Final Dig with Ethics Commission

July 8, 2014

Scott Gessler

Scott Gessler

DENVER — Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s political career was broadsided a year ago by the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission, but it looks like the Republican will throw the final punch.

A majority of the five-member commission gave tentative approval Monday to Gessler’s request to have his costs covered by the Republican National Lawyers Association at its election law seminar next month in Las Vegas, where the secretary is scheduled to speak on a panel.

His topic? The political abuses arising from state ethics commissions.

Commissioners put off a final decision until July 23, but three members said they were inclined to sign off on the secretary’s request.

“The secretary’s attendance at an election law seminar to tell them how his office was impacted by these processes and hear from them, how they would deal with that and how their states are dealing with similar situations, seems related enough to me,” said Commissioner William Leone, a Republican. “So I would say that if they want to pay for him to go down to speak, that’s fine.” Read more »

New Ad Campaign Blasts Udall for Refusing to Support Keystone, Jobs

July 8, 2014

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr.DENVER — A television ad campaign launched Tuesday blasts Democratic Sen. Mark Udall on an issue near and dear to Colorado voters: jobs.

The ad by the conservative group Crossroads GPS takes Udall to task for refusing to support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would create more than 42,000 jobs, according to State Department estimates.

Udall has consistently found himself on the opposite side of Colorado voters on Keystone. A Rasmussen Reports poll released last week found that a whopping 63 percent of Colorado voters surveyed support building the pipeline, while just 24 percent oppose it.

“Now Udall is standing in the way of new jobs, voting four times against the Keystone pipeline, even though it could create over 40,000 good-paying jobs,” says the ad.

Udall has consistently voted against resolutions in favor of the pipeline, saying the decision shouldn’t be clouded by politics.

Crossroads GPS, which sunk $460,000 into the ad buy in the Denver media market, also criticizes Udall for supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently proposed emissions standards on power plants. Read more »

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