Gossip: Aug. 17, 2012

Author: - August 17, 2012 - Updated: August 17, 2012


Republican legislative candidates are moving up on the state party’s Trailblazers program, meant to designate top performers in competitive races.

House candidate Brian Watson and Senate candidate state Rep. Ken Summers have both vaulted onto the final tier in the program, dubbed full-fledged “Trailblazers,” marking them as the best candidates in the state so far when it comes to fundraising and voter-contact benchmarks, the Colorado GOP announced last week. Watson is locked in a close race to unseat state Rep. Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village, in a redrawn House District 3, which covers south-metro suburbs, and Summers is battling it out with fellow state Rep. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, for an open west-side Senate District 22 seat.

The Trailblazers program, new this year, mimics the national Republicans’ “Young Guns” program, which recruits and shepherds GOP congressional candidates. Last election, both U.S. Reps. Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton were Young Guns, and both knocked off Democratic incumbents.

House District 35 candidate Brian Vande Krol is new to the Trailblazers list, joining fellow Republicans as an “On-the-Radar” candidate, the first step in the program. Others holding at that level this month include state Rep. J. Paul Brown, House candidate in House District 59 and Senate District 19 candidate Lang Sias.

Two candidates who were previously “On the Radar,” House District 28 hopeful Amy Attwood and Senate District 26 challenger Dave Kerber, both moved up a notch to “Contender” status. They join House District 23 candidate Rick Enstrom and House District 18 candidate Jennifer George in the middle designation.


Fight Back Colorado, a campaign outfit formed this summer to help pass a civil unions bill by defeating the legislation’s opponents, is asking its supporters to help select its targets. “Which Colorado legislators should pack up and go home?” asks Roger Sherman, the group’s treasurer, in an email directing supporters to an interactive website where they can weigh in.

Visitors to the site are urged to pick three legislators and drag their faces into some on-screen suitcases. “Very soon a legislator will be getting a very clear message from us: it’s time to pack your bags,” Sherman promises.

The site displays 16 Republican lawmakers, including several who have zero chance of making Fight Back’s target list, as the organization has said it only intends to play in one or two close races in swing districts. So, while it might be satisfying for Fight Back supporters to vote to send House Speaker Frank McNulty or House Majority Leader Amy Stephens packin’ — civil unions proponents, after all, blame those two for sending the bill to its death using procedural moves at the end of the session, after it had already passed three Repblican-dominated House committees — neither has even the remotest chance of losing in November. Stephens, like a couple other legislators on Fight Back’s ballot, doesn’t even have a Democratic opponent.

Still, the site offers up several candidates who are in tight races and who might face the wrath of Fight Back, which was seeded earlier this summer with a combined $50,000 in donations from philanthropist Tim Gill and the One Colorado gay-rights organization.

Among the possibilities, as described by the organization: “Rep. Robert Ramirez, who said he supported civil unions and then turned his back on us by participating in an anti-civil unions rally? … Rep. Cindy Acree, who voted no on civil unions? Or Rep. Ken Summers, who has run a program that provided so-called ‘ex-gay therapy’”?

A spokeswoman for Fight Back said the group would be unveiling its targets “in the coming weeks.”


Let us be the first to say, it isn’t a good idea to try to come between a hard-core Republican and her American flags, not even if you’re an equally hard-core Republican.

That’s a lesson learned on Tuesday at the Paul Ryan rally at Lakewood High School, when the GOP vice presidential pick made his public debut in Colorado in front of more than 2,000 cheering fans.

It seems a veteran Republican operative thought it would be a good idea to bring along a dozen or so hand-held American flags, the kind mounted to pencil-sized sticks and suitable for waving. But as she stood in line, approaching the security checkpoint, a high-level official with the Colorado Romney campaign approached her and wanted to confiscate her flags.

“You can’t take those in with you,” the Romney official said, pointing to the flags. “They’re a security risk.”
Our flag-bearer likes nothing more than being told “no” by someone in authority, and her reaction was hardly compliant. “That’s ridiculous!” she responded, only to be told that it isn’t the Romney campaign that makes the rules, blame the Secret Service. Again, she responded, “That’s ridiculous!” and then the fun started.

If the Romney campaign official really — no, really! — wanted to deny her the right to bear flags into a Paul Ryan rally, she said, she’d be quite happy to walk right over there to the MSNBC truck and let America know all about it.

Let’s not be hasty, the Romney poo-bah cautioned, and they approached the Secret Service to ask whether the flags would be allowed. “No problem,” the sunglass-wearing agent said. “We don’t have a problem with those.”

Triumphant, the woman and her flags prepared to enter the gymnasium. But not before the Romney operative pulled her aside for a quick question. “You really would have gone to MSNBC about that?” he asked. “You really would have done that to the Republican Party?”

Our flag-waving patriot looked him square in the eye and replied: “No. I really would have done that for the American flag,” turned on her heels and walked into the event.