Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 18, 20183min16030

Veteran pollster Floyd Ciruli says Colorado’s political landscape that’s evolving, and Thursday he will moderate a panel that will tell us where it’s headed.

The program, “Colorado Politics in 2018: Transition in the Age of Polarization,” is from 4 to 6 p.m., followed by a reception, in Room 1150 at the Sié Center at 2201 S. Gaylord St. at the University of Denver.

Ciruli is the director of the Crossley Center, as well as a columnist for Colorado Politics.

The panel will include:

  • Dick Wadhams, a former state Republican Party chairman and renowned political campaign manager and senior staffer for such leaders as former Gov. Bill Owens and the late Bill Armstrong, a U.S. senator from Colorado.
  • Steve Welchert, a Democratic consultant for such as leaders as Mayor Federico Peña and U.S. Ed Perlmutter, as well as a raft of Colorado ballot issues.
  • Melanie Layton and Zoey DeWolf, lobbyists for the firm Colorado Legislative Services.
  • Vincent Carroll, former editorial page editor for the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post.

Admission is free, but space is limited, so those who plan to attend should RSVP to Jane Bucher-McCoy at or 303-871-2882.

“Colorado is in a major political transition,” Ciruli tells Colorado Politics. “A Democratic governor with both houses of the legislature under Democratic control could revive the 2013 lurch to the left. On the other hand, a Republican governor with even one house of the legislature could move the state to the right.”

He said DeWolf and Layton will point out and size up key legislative races — Democrats hold a nine-seat edge in the House, but Republicans have only a one-seat majority in the state Senate.

Wadhams and Welchert will talk about the partisan political temperature, while Carroll gives a media overview.

Panel is cosponsored by Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research and Institute for Public Policy Studies at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningFebruary 2, 201812min23650

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman plans to petition her way onto the Republican primary ballot for governor, but her modest fundraising, lack of a statewide organization and late start add up to long odds against her, say two GOP strategists who have managed successful signature-gathering efforts for statewide candidates in recent election cycles.


Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 9, 20174min13980

Are you ready for this?

“I see this race as Tom Tancredo and everyone else.”

That’s what Colorado Republican sage Dick Wadhams said on “The Dan Caplis Show” on 710KNUS Wednesday afternoon about next year’s governor’s race. And nobody knows races like Wadhams, a national-caliber campaign guru who ran the race for the last Republican governor, Bill Owens, in 1998.

Tancredo is the alt-right icon who is hard to imagine in the front of the pack, but if the crowded Republican field has four or five candidates in the race, then Tancredo has the edge.

He has a dedicated group of Trump-type supporters who back his tough views on immigration and other bedrock conservative values, which Wadhams estimated at about 23 percent of primary voters.

“No one else comes close to that,” he told Caplis.

Other Republicans tell Colorado Politics that Tancredo’s ceiling is also at about 23 percent, because moderate voters won’t support his strident views. That means sending him into the general election makes it easy on the Democrat — another big field of capable hopefuls that include Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, Congressman Jared Polis, former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy and former state Sen. Mike Johnston.

But Wadhams said he expects presumed GOP frontrunner Walker Stapleton, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, entrepreneur Victor Mitchell and retired investment banker Doug Robinson to make it to the primary by either petition by a nomination at the state Republican convention.

“That’s quite a few on the ballot to try to take down one guy,” Wadhams said on the radio.

Coffman got in the race Wednesday, and she, Tancredo and Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler were expected to divide up the far-right vote, leaving Stapleton with an easy route to the nomination. But word broke Wednesday that Brauchler is eyeing a jump to the attorney general’s race, now that Coffman is running for governor.

“That probably strengthened Tom Tancredo’s hand in the primary,” Wadhams said.

He saw Brauchler’s failure to launch in the governor’s race as three-fold: Brauchler had dismal fund-raising in the third quarter that raised doubts about his viability. He let go of his campaign manager and said he wouldn’t fill the job until next year, which Wadhams thought was a terrible tactical decision, and then Tancredo’s entry into the race.

If Brauchler runs for attorney general he could face state Rep. Cole Wist in the GOP primary. Wist, the assistant House minority leader and a powerhouse attorney, is considering getting in.

“I don’t know that George can win the nomination without a primary, but, yeah, on balance I do think this is a good move for George,” Wadhams said.

Caplis, a staunch Republican, said the GOP field in the governor’s race — eight or nine candidates depending on what Brauchler does — doesn’t have any “knuckleheads.”

“We have to avoid the circular firing squad, (but) how do we make sure of that when we have a stable of ambitious … very talented people who have fought their way to the top,” Caplis said. “These are fighters.”


Ernest LuningErnest LuningOctober 16, 20179min19560

Tom Tancredo strolled into the packed conference room in the back of a Wheat Ridge bowling alley on a recent Thursday evening and took a seat. He was the headliner at the monthly North Jeffco Tea Party meeting, but first the group of about 50 activists heard from school board candidates and a young man who wanted to introduce himself to the group because he was considering a run for Congress. There was also a chili supper coming up, and raffle tickets were on sale, with prizes including a quantity of gold.