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Ernest LuningErnest LuningFebruary 2, 201812min3930

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 BunchMay 1, 20175min201

The day before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, Colorado Republican political operative Dustin Olson was busy at work, as he had been for a month a half in Washington.

He was busy with the details of an Inauguration Day concert at the Lincoln Memorial when he looked out over the National Mall. The enormity of the moment settled in.

“In that moment, it became real: Donald Trump was about to become president of the United States, and we were part of it,” Dustin remembered recently in the run-up to Trump’s first 100 days in office.

“To play a little part in helping write history was simply amazing.”

Dustin and two other members of his Olson Strategies & Advertising team — his wife and the firm’s management partner, Carolyn, and partner Sean Bartley — were associate executive producers for the inaugural committee.

Sean said he was moved most by the prayer service at the National Cathedral with the Rev. Franklin Graham the morning after the inauguration.

“No matter what walk of faith people came from, we were all gathered for a fresh start for our country and praying for America,” he recalled.

The Olson team have been reliving the dream lately. Dustin penned an op-ed Sunday for the Colorado Springs Gazette with his take on President Trump’s first three months in office.

Dustin shared exclusively with Colorado Politics what it was like to have a hand in such a huge and historic event, no alternative facts.

Dustin was focused on concerts, but the team’s duties included arranging the inaugural parade on Jan. 20 with more than 6,000 non-military participants, along with hundreds of band members, singers and horses.

“And every one of them had to be screened in advance by the Secret Service,” Sean said, adding the horses also had to have paperwork.

Carolyn will remember the veterans.

“It was an incredible honor to spend time with these men who had fought for us in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, some  of whom had lost limbs,” she said. “To walk the parade route alongside them will be something I will never forget.”

The adventure started with a podcast last spring.

Olson interviewed Republican National Convention organizer Bill Greener for Olson’s “Political Trade Secrets” about the veteran politico’s work on RNC gatherings back to 1984.

“That was June 17th and delegates were due to arrive July 17th. We had exactly 30 days to create the convention program,” Dustin said. “So, Carolyn, Sean and I rolled into action. We didn’t get the green light to start contacting speakers until July 5th. It happened in a very short timeframe. And I was proud of the program the team produced.”

In November, Greener tapped the Olson team again for the inauguration.

Here’s Dustin’s shameless plug for his company (after managing security clearances for horses, in my book he’s entitled):

“We work in this field because we hope to inspire and empower those who want to make a difference in their community, their country and the world. Through our involvement with the inauguration we helped thousands of Americans be a part of this great tradition.

“That memory will live with them for the rest of their lives. We are a company with national experience at the highest level of politics; yet we also have a lot of heart for the candidate who is running for office at the city or county level, and we bring national level experience to smaller races on behalf of candidates who wouldn’t otherwise have it. We can be working for Donald Trump one moment, then working for someone who’s running for city council the next, and we take the experience from one and apply it to the other. That gives Olson Strategies & Advertising a keen sense of what’s going on in the country.”



Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 17, 20175min234
Colorado will be well-represented at Donald Trump’s inauguration festivities this week, as social media, announcements from attendees and lists from event organizers show. All of Colorado’s Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate are expected to attend as of Tuesday. About 50 House Democrats are boycotting the event, citing the president-elect’s spat with Democratic […]

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Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinNovember 1, 201616min746

All those political TV ads we've been watching for what seems like forever are almost over, but what do they accomplish? That's the big question only Colorado voters can definitively answer as they cast their ballots in the Nov. 8 general election. Not counting the races for various offices, state voters will decide nine proposed ballot measures, including six amendments to the state constitution and three propositions to change state statutes. While not all of them have been the subject of a TV ad, those that have been seem to run nearly constantly.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningSeptember 22, 201631min582

Republican political consultant Dustin Olson has been at the center of national politics and numerous local campaigns — he and his wife, Carolyn, just celebrated the 10th anniversary of Olson Strategies & Advertising, their Colorado-based firm — but it was a few days he spent touring Civil War battlefields and shopping at Wal-Mart with a comic actor who once wrote speeches for Richard Nixon that propelled him on his path.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJune 2, 20166min456

Denver Republican Benjamin Higgins, star of the most recent season of ABC-TV’s hit show The Bachelor, confirmed Thursday he’s considering a run for office in House District 4. “My priority is giving back to my community and serving my neighbors. Since the conclusion of The Bachelor, I have been exploring how I can best be of service,” Higgins said in a statement. “I am definitely not a politician, but I have a lot to offer through my years in the financial services industry and, more importantly, my work in charitable and humanitarian organizations.”