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Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 17, 20172min10710

My Insights column in the Colorado Politics magazine this week (online and in the Colorado Springs Gazette next week) examines the unexplained positions and curious start to Cynthia Coffman’s campaign. But Thursday, it got only more curious.

Clinton Soffer had been identified in political circles as her campaign manager suddenly wasn’t.

When Coffman officially announced her candidacy for governor on Nov. 8, the Denver Post reported, “To run her campaign, Coffman hired Clinton Soffer, the former regional political director for the National Republican Senate Committee, where he worked for Colorado U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, whom he helped elect in 2014.”

After I got a well-sourced tip Thursday that Soffer was no longer running the campaign, I reached out to Coffman’s campaign fundraiser Caroline Wren, who also is fielding calls to Coffman from the media this week.

“Clinton Soffer is a part of Team Cynthia, but he is not campaign manager and was never announced by our campaign as such,” said Wren.

I quickly responded and asked what his role is, then, whether the Denver Post had it wrong and whether the campaign had asked for a correction. And especially: Who is running the campaign, then?

Wren didn’t reply.

Earlier Thursday Wren asked me in a text message to submit all future questions to Coffman in writing via e-mail, after Wren said she thought she was speaking “on background” for a story posted Thursday about why Coffman missed the Republican Women of Weld gubernatorial forum Monday night in Fort Lupton. (She was flying back from a Republican Attorneys General Association meeting in Palm Beach, Fla.)

She told Corey Hutchins from the Colorado Independent that she would only take written questions from him, as well.

Soffer did not return a call asking for a comment.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 16, 20174min6900

Well, here’s a new idea courtesy of Colorado gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell: If you’re elected official and you’re running for higher office, get off the government payroll.

“You have to show up to your job to get paid, shouldn’t your elected officials have to do the same before asking for a promotion?” asks the 55-second ad called “Resign to Run”

Let’s see who the entrepreneur from Castle Rock might be talking about in the governor’s race: state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Democratic Congressman Jared Polis, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, possibly Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter, and the ex gubernatorial candidate turned attorney general hopeful George Brauchler … but not Cary Kennedy; she stepped down from her job as Denver’s chief financial officer last year, presumably to ready for the race. Mike Johnston was term-limited out of the state Senate last year, so he caught a break, and Greg Lopez hasn’t been the mayor of Parker since the early 1990s.

Of course, the flaw in this, unless Victor gets in other changes, would be that the governor, usually a Democrat, would be able to appoint the replacement attorney general and treasurer, offices usually won by Republicans in Colorado. That’s how Democrat Bernie Buescher became secretary of state in 2009, when Republican Mike Coffman was elected to Congress; Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter appointed him.

The bill is a work in progress, Mitchell’s campaign indicated Thursday.

“We are exploring details, but (as with term limits) we don’t think congressional candidates or federal officeholders could be under this, legally. But we’re exploring,” said David Hill, an adviser to Mitchell’s campaign who is a former Texas A&M professor who was director of the Public Policy Resources Laboratory and founding director of The Texas Poll.

“… There are a lot of moving parts here and we are exploring judiciously. But we believe the policy is sound. Several other states already have this, so the policy is not without precedent.”

He added, “This is how good policy is made. We advance a broad outline of a proposal and then get feedback, both from legal and political sources. Then we move to finalizing the proposal, based on the input received. That is how Victor Mitchell operates.”

Mitchell served one term in the state House before leaving to focus on the business for a few years.

He’s proposing a law to force those who have been elected to full-time state or local offices to resign before seeking a higher office.

“Taxpayers should not be forced to continue to pay the salaries of officeholders who are seeking promotion to a higher office,” Mitchell said in a statement. “Campaigning is almost a full-time job these days and we can’t expect an officeholder to run for a different office without neglecting their current office responsibilities.

“This law would not prevent anyone from seeking any office they choose. It would merely prevent neglect of duty and taxpayer subsidies of campaigners. I don’t like corporate welfare, and I don’t like welfare for politicians, either.”

Mitchell linked his proposal to term Limits, which he said cuts down career politicians, and the Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights “promoted financial accountability.

“Resign-To-Run will help keep the political insiders accountable to the people that elect them,” contends Mitchell. “Don’t expect the establishment to embrace this new idea, but I am already seeing that the people of Colorado believe it’s a welcome check on political ambition.”


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningNovember 13, 20174min220

There won't be two Georges running for Colorado attorney general after all. Saying he believes it's important for the GOP to "consolidate behind one candidate" for attorney general, George Leing, Colorado's Republican National Committeeman and a former congressional candidate, announced Monday that he won't be joining one-time gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler in the race.