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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirAugust 23, 20174min120

Perhaps the final word on the surprise re-entry of U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter into the race for his own 7th Congressional District seat belongs to Colorado Pols, a divining rod for Democratic thinking and an insider source for developments in the party. Arguably, the seasoned and savvy blog is also a default mediator, of sorts, among competing Democratic interests.

Hence, a post Tuesday addressing potential fallout, or at least background noise in some quarters within the party, over the veteran congressman’s seemingly fickle turnabout:

… after a period of introspection, it became clear that Perlmutter’s seniority in Congress and long record of effective leadership in this district are powerful assets that serve his constituents and the state well.

So yes, he gets to do this. As we’ve said before, it’s possible that there is no one in Colorado politics today who has the political capital to pull this kind of episode off without loss of standing besides Ed Perlmutter. His decision to run again, as painful as it is to his would-be successors through no fault of their own, is therefore one that everybody on the Democratic side of the aisle is compelled to accept.

The other candidates will all get their chances, in no small part based on their graciousness today.

“Compelled to accept,” got it? A pretty definitive statement from an influential voice that, sure, is very comfortable with Perlmutter but also is close to some of the other contenders who have now dropped out of what was going to be a competitive primary. And Pols offered this blunt assessment of the one candidate who is still in:

The only other candidate still nominally remaining the Democratic CD-7 race is Dan Baer, a former Obama administration diplomat who parachuted into the race early in August:

A spokeswoman for Baer, who said he raised more than $300,000 in the two weeks after he announced his campaign Aug. 1, said Monday that he was traveling and “given the number of twists and turns in this race so far, we don’t have any immediate response.”

Whatever, Baer. The fact is, it doesn’t matter what this locally unknown come-lately candidate says at this point. For all intents and purposes the 2018 CD-7 Democratic primary is over, and Baer will just humiliate himself if he ignores that reality.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 30, 201711min180


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 21, 20172min170

Ken Buck and talk radio go together like peanut butter and jelly. And just about anytime the conservative Republican U.S. rep from Colorado’s 4th Congressional District turns up on the airwaves, it’s also likely to turn up on the radar of left-ish media watchdog and political blogger Jason Salzman.

That’s how we learned of a shot Buck took at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — theoretically, a redoubt of pro-business Republicans like the congressman — in an interview on Denver’s KNUS 710-AM radio the other day. Salzman, writing for Colorado Pols about “(t)he schism between business groups and some members of the Republican Party in Colorado,” recaps Buck’s on-air remarks while he was promoting his new book, “Drain the Swamp,” to radio host Chuck Bonniwell:

“They are one of the big problems in Washington DC,” replied Buck. “They affirmatively go after conservatives. Tim Huelskamp lost his seat in the western district of Kansas because of the U.S. Chamber targeting Tim as a conservative, and defeating him. They play, and they play very hard. We have some groups on the right, like Club for Growth, that also target folks. But, you know, the Chamber is a corporate cronyist organization that promotes corporate interests at the expense of conservative values. There are a lot of stories to tell about the swamp, and if I didn’t mention the Chamber, they certainly deserve to be mentioned.”

 


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 15, 20173min72

The correct answer is: The other side!

Pro-GOP blog Colorado Peak Politics points a finger at “Safe Campus Colorado, founded by Congressional District Two candidate Ken Toltz,” who Peak says posted a tweet “politicizing the terrible shooting” of Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three others at a congressional baseball practice near Washington, D.C.

Peak adds:

It’s unclear whether Toltz is in charge of his group’s Twitter account, but is the leader of the organization and, as such, is held responsible for the group’s actions. Nonetheless, he’s shown that he’s unfit to run for office since the tweet is still up.

At the very least, Toltz needs to apologize to the victims of today’s shooting.

Democratic-friendly blog Colorado Pols meanwhile points to, “a fundraising email sent earlier today from GOP Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, invoking today’s shooting…”

The letter opens:

Unruly protesters trashing Civic Center Park and clashing with cops in the streets.

Mock beheadings of President Trump by Kathy Griffin.

And now an ASSASSINATION attempt on Republican lawmakers!

The hate-inspired violent rhetoric against conservatives and Republicans was already at an all-time fever pitch before today, but now it just got very real.

The left is out of control. Their violent actions are un-American, and it needs to stop!

Pols observes:

Neville and Republicans he supports via the Colorado Liberty PAC have ceded the high ground. They have politicized this man’s horrific actions in exactly the way they refused to accept with countervailing examples — like the man who walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs in November of 2015 and started shooting. …

And that rank hypocrisy still wasn’t enough. They tried to make money off it.

Clear enough?


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 13, 20173min110

…even if they don’t stand much of a chance of capturing the seat being vacated by five-term U.S. Rep. Jared Polis in the indelibly Democratic, Boulder-centered district. Still, thanks to Colorado Pols for profiling a couple of prospects for the GOP nomination in the upcoming race.

Polis of course has announced his intention to run for governor in 2018, and Democrats Joe Neguse and Ken Toltz already are vying for the chance to replace him. Others reportedly may want in.

Pols reports Republicans also are said to be eyeing their options in what would be an uphill battle to say the least:

With Polis now trading up, speculation for a Republican CD-2 challenger is focusing as of this writing on two possible candidates: state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, the arch-conservative state lawmaker who lost against Polis in 2012, and former state Rep. BJ Nikkel. Nikkel, who earned praise on both sides of the aisle for her support for civil unions legislation in 2012, was a major local proponent of now-President Donald Trump’s campaign — a gamble that could pay off now in the form of high-level support if she were to run for Congress, though it leaves her vulnerable with the anti-Trump majority of voters in general.

Lundberg continues to be one of the state GOP’s unflinchingly conservative standard bearers while Nikkel, as noted by Pols, has a penchant for departing from party orthodoxy. As Pols also points out, the GOP doesn’t think it really has a chance in the district no matter who its nominee turns out to be.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 13, 20172min90

…And with Colorado’s candidate casting call in full swing already for a host of offices from governor on down, well, shame on us for not returning to the venerable fount of political handicapping sooner. But we’ll make this one a teaser, just listing Pols’ top-rated prospect in each of the most-watched races — though at latest count, there were over a dozen potential contenders in the guv’s race alone. Sorry, you’ll have to go to Pols for a peek at the rest.

Governor:

  • U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter; “still the obvious frontrunner.”

Attorney general:

  • Cynthia Coffman; “will almost surely face a tough challenge.”

State treasurer:

  • Brian Watson and Justin Everett (tied)

Secretary of state:

  • Wayne Williams; no known opposition but, “could have a long road convincing voters that 2016 election problems have been properly addressed.”

2nd Congressional District:

  • Joe Neguse; “looks like the early favorite here.”

6th Congressional District:

  • Mike Coffman; “Democrats are probably done expending serious resources against Coffman after another big victory in 2016.”

7the Congressional District:

  • Andy Kerr; “will be formidable candidate.”

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 12, 20176min120
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis addresses Colorado Democrats at the state party's biennial reorganization meeting on Saturday, March 11, 2017, at the Marriott City Center in Denver. Polis plans to announce he's running for governor on Monday, June 12, 2017. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

For his fellow Democrats, 2nd Congressional District U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder represents a political game-changer with his announcement over the weekend he intends to run for Colorado governor in 2018. He’s super-smart, super-rich and enough of a nonconformist to capture the imagination of voters.

For Republicans, Polis is a game-changer, too, but of a different sort: He’s a standing spoof of every GOP stereotype of the political left: supercilious, super-silly and enough of a nonconformist to be too zany for prime-time politics.

Democrats will point out Polis — a wunderkind who turned his folks’ greeting-card biz into a digital phenomenon and made himself a fortune — has managed to get himself elected to Congress five times. Republicans will say, yeah, but that’s representing Boulder. Democrats will point out Polis’s first run for office was in a statewide race that landed him an at-large seat on the State Board of Education (a post subsequently eliminated). Republicans will say, yeah, but nobody knew him then. Or paid attention to the race.

And so it goes.

That Colorado’s two major political parties harbor starkly different views about the politics of any candidate is of course only natural. But about a candidate’s viability? Probably has something to do with Polis’s persona and image; it might also signify how polarized our political culture has become nationally, with Colorado representing a microcosm.

In any event, consider this snapshot of those sharply contrasting views, enunciated by leftwardly tilted Colorado Pols and Colorado Peak Politics over on the right.

Here’s a snippet from Pols:

…Polis’ bold campaign theme of 100% renewable energy could resonate with a segment of the Democratic base that’s been discontented for a number of years in Colorado as the battles over oil and gas development along the urbanizing Front Range have escalated. Polis has been a leader in that complicated and fractious battle, and if he retains the trust of the environmental left going into this race it could be a crucial edge.

Obviously, Polis’ entry into the 2018 gubernatorial race forces all of us to reset our calculations here. But the biggest takeaway for today is the fact that Democrats are feeling very good about 2018, and there’s going to be healthy competition for what could be the fruits of an historic victory. Between Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter, Democrats have a choice of two of the biggest names in Colorado politics–and that’s got to feel better than a primary between a district attorney and a couple of unknown rich guys.

…And from Peak:

… (H)e will focus on moving the state to 100 percent renewable energy 20 years after his term ends, provide free, all day preschool for toddlers and kindergarten for kids, and encourage companies to give employees stock options.

Here’s how that will work.

via GIPHY

… On the bright side, we won’t have to be embarrassed by his presence in Congress anymore. He’ll step down after his term finishes this year.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 1, 20175min50
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn speaks prior to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence during the Trump-Pence rally at the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs Aug. 3, 2016. (Photo by Michael McGrady/The Colorado Statesman)
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn speaks prior to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence during the Trump-Pence rally at the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs Aug. 3, 2016. (Photo by Michael McGrady/The Colorado Statesman)

 

If they couldn’t fight over water, would longtime rivals Pueblo and Colorado Springs find something else to fight over? Of course! But for now, the ongoing feud over Fountain Creek will do.

The contaminated stormwater that perennially pours into the waterway from the Springs metro area and flows downstream to Pueblo and beyond prompted a lawsuit against Colorado Springs in 2016 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The agencies cited violations of water-quality standards. Pueblo joined the suit even as the two cities started talks and reached an agreement. Colorado Springs agreed to spend $460 million over 20 years on stormwater projects to rein in its runoff. Toward that end, Springs voters agreed in April to give up $12 million in excess tax revenue over two years to spend on stormwater projects.

So, should the state and feds now drop their lawsuit? 5th Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs thinks so, as reported last week, and he has asked the Trump administration’s new EPA chief Scott Pruitt to reconsider the litigation. Lamborn’s hope is that the winds of change blowing through the federal agency could shift its tilt on a suit that had been filed under the Obama administration.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers not surprisingly is hoping the same thing and told The Colorado Springs Gazette last Saturday he welcomed Lamborn’s efforts.

Whatever comes of Lamborn’s overture, at least one Pueblo County commissioner isn’t taking it sitting down. And even Lamborn’s fellow Colorado Republican House member, Scott Tipton, whose neighboring 3rd Congressional District includes Pueblo, is expressing misgivings.

A hat tip to Colorado Pols for pointing out the Pueblo Chieftain’s coverage this week of the ensuing dust-up. The Chieftain’s Peter Roper reports:

Pueblo County Commission Chairman Terry Hart said Lamborn has played no role in the years of negotiations between Colorado Springs and county officials over stormwater controls, adding: “He should stay the heck out of it.”

While Lamborn seems to think the agreement between the two cities moots the suit, Hart believes the lawsuit made it possible — and will cement the gain in place:

“The threat of that lawsuit was critically important in our reaching an intergovernmental agreement with Colorado Springs,” Hart said Tuesday. “We joined that lawsuit to protect our interests and right now, Colorado Springs is doing a good job of honoring its commitment. But the lawsuit would nail down the agreement to withstand the political winds that blow back and forth.”

Tipton appeared more circumspect about the foray by his GOP House colleague, but a statement from his office quoted by Roper leaves no doubt the congressman from Cortez isn’t on Lamborn’s side:

“While Congressman Tipton has been encouraged by the commitment demonstrated by Mayor (John) Suthers to solve this long-standing problem, the lawsuit was filed by both the EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for a reason,” a spokesman said.

It’s anyone’s guess where it all will lead with a West Slope water watchdog like Tipton in on the standoff — and taking Pueblo’s side. Yet another illustration of how Colorado’s water wars can cut cross party lines.