State and Local

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 »

Former Rivals Unite Behind Beauprez in Gubernatorial Campaign Kick-Off

July 3, 2014

Bob Beauprez

Bob Beauprez

GREENWOOD VILLAGE — Bob Beauprez kicked off his gubernatorial campaign Wednesday with a show of GOP unity, barnstorming with his three Republican primary rivals.

“We said it earlier in the campaign: We all wear the same jersey,” said Beauprez at a rally at his campaign office in Greenwood Village.

“And thanks to all these guys,” he said. “We have been consistently throughout this primary process about the real objective in this race, and that’s to make Colorado great again.”

Tom Tancredo, who placed second in the primary race, said he believes Republicans have the momentum going into the 2014 gubernatorial contest, something “that I haven’t felt for a long time.”

“The wind is at our back,” said Tancredo. “It honestly feels different.” Read more »

Obamacare’s Approval Rating Dropping Among Colorado Voters

July 2, 2014

DENVER — Obamacare’s popularity continues to dive among Colorado voters, with more than half of those surveyed saying they disapprove of the federal health-care law.

A Rasmussen Reports survey released Tuesday found only 39 percent of Colorado voters polled approve of the Affordable Care Act, while a whopping 58 percent disapprove.

That’s a drop from March 11, the date of the previous Rasmussen poll on the issue, which found 42 percent of Coloradans approved and 54 percent disapproved of Obamacare.

“This includes 16 percent with a Very Favorable opinion and 48 percent with a Very Unfavorable one, making the law even less popular in Colorado than it is on the national level,” said Rasmussen Reports in its analysis.

Nationally, the split on Obamacare’s favorability rating is 44 percent favorable and 51 percent unfavorable, according to Rasmussen. Read more »

Loveland Vote Shows Tide May Have Turned in Fracking Fight

July 1, 2014

LOVELAND — The defeat of Loveland’s Question 1 last week shows that the momentum may have shifted in Colorado’s frack wars, which could be a problem for Democratic Rep. Jared Polis’s statewide anti-fracking drive.

In November 2012, the oil and gas industry was reeling from an overwhelming defeat in Longmont, where voters approved a measure banning fracking within the city’s limits by a margin of 60 to 40 percent.

Eighteen months later, it’s the fractivists who are coping with their first major loss after Loveland voters rejected a two-year moratorium on fracking by 52 to 48 percent.

What happened? The oil and gas industry may have been caught off-guard by the Longmont vote, but its representatives are now fully engaged in the ballot battle on hydraulic fracturing. Read more »

Polis Wins Court Battle But Could Lose War on Local-Control Initiative

July 1, 2014

DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court had a mixed message Monday for Democratic Rep. Jared Polis: Go ahead with your local-control push, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The court ruled that Polis’s two nearly identical local-control proposals–Initiatives 90 and 93–did not violate the single-subject rule for initiatives, thus clearing the way for the multi-millionaire’s anti-fracking campaign to proceed with petition-circulating.

But the decision wasn’t unanimous. In a pointed dissent, Chief Justice Nancy Rice raised red flags about the legality of the initiatives, which would give localities broad authority over drilling activity, saying they “might exempt local regulations governing oil and gas development from federal takings law in a way that would violate the Supremacy Clause.” Read more »

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