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Ernest LuningErnest LuningNovember 10, 20174min4010

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat running for governor of Colorado, on Thursday launched an attack tying Tom Tancredo to President Donald Trump, charging the GOP gubernatorial candidate and Trump are "ideologically one and the same" — but far from rejecting the attack, Tancredo fired back, calling Polis "just another whiny liberal elite."


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 28, 20172min386

Tom Tancredo needs $12.

He says so in the subject line of a mass email this week — although he actually wants you to give it to the Denver GOP.

Why raise funds for a county party that has virtually no chance of electing anyone to public office within its own lopsidedly Democratic jurisdiction? The Republican former congressman, sometime gubernatorial candidate and perennial firebrand thought you’d ask. And his explanation rings the bell on his signature issues:

Fellow Conservative,

I love Denver, Colorado. As a young man, I worked at Elitch Gardens. It’s an amazing city.

You know that. But here’s the deal, the city is being overrun.

Being overrun by radical liberals, illegal immigrants, and progressive Californians.

Will you fight back?

If we don’t put up a fight in Denver, liberals will overrun our state. No statewide candidate can win in Colorado, without winning 1 out of 4 Denver voters.

Period.

I served in Congress for a decade and ran for President – so you may wonder why I’m emailing you asking you to give money to the Denver GOP, because as Tip O’Neill said, “all politics is local.”

We can’t win the Governor’s mansion in 2018 without winning 1 out of 4 votes in Denver. Will you give us $12 right now so we can do that?

I’ve been working closely with the Chairman of the Denver County GOP. We’re putting together a plan, but we’ll need to hire a volunteer coordinator, and afford a walk and call app, so our volunteers can contact voters easiest.

Friend, I need you to give at least $12 right now.

Tom Tancredo

Same ol’ Tancredo; insert cause du jour. Sure.

But it also offers a glimpse at the GOP’s calculus for the 2018 gubernatorial race — and a reminder that a vote is a vote in a statewide election. Doesn’t matter if it comes from hostile territory.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 7, 20174min382
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Remember the Aurora Public Schools board member who raised eyebrows last month with her remarks about immigrants — of which there are many in the school district and surrounding city? The member, Cathy Wildman, followed up this week with an explanation of sorts.

Chalkbeat Colorado’s Yesenia Robles reports that at a board meeting Tuesday, Wildman, “offered a lengthy, emotional response that emphasized the importance of following rules and included an assurance that she wants students to feel safe.”

Yet, Robles also notes Wildman seemed to stop short of an apology; some members of the public who were on hand expressed disappointment.

What were Wildman’s offending words? During last month’s debate of a board resolution expressing support for immigrant students and their families — amid the Trump administration’s attempts at an immigration crackdown — Wildman expressed concerns about providing what she seemed to think is special dispensation for immigrant households. As Robles reported at the time:

… Wildman said Aurora already has enough policies creating safe schools by prohibiting discrimination. She said the resolution was about one group of students, and not really for all students.

“I guess I feel that we are setting aside, or creating additional rules and policies in some ways where people broke the rules,” Wildman said.

She added that some immigrants have made some areas of the country unsafe and said in one instance her nieces traveling to southern California were told to turn around because it would not be safe for them.

Wildman actually had wound up voting for the resolution, but her qualified support — and her observations about immigrants as rule breakers earned her few friends that night. And then there was that tangent about parts of the country she felt were rendered unsafe  by immigrants. At least one education-advocacy group called on her to resign.

Wildman’s follow-up this week, from Robles’s latest account:

“I’m a rule follower,” Wildman said Tuesday. “I obey the rules and the laws. This morning I noticed how many rules I followed as I went to the gym. We have rules for a reason.”

Wildman, a former teacher, said her goal “is that all students feel safe and included. … When I go back to the meeting in question, I wanted people to recognize that we have policies in place. In no way did I ever say immigrants are not welcome.”

That didn’t do much for at least one district resident in attendance:

After listening to Wildman’s response, (Kristen) Pough said she didn’t believe there was an apology.

“I just didn’t feel that was a sincere response,” Pough said. “I just saw her say, ‘I’m a great citizen because I do x, y and z,’ and not really apologizing.”


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 4, 20172min403

The authors of a wide-ranging political poll last week showing relatively little concern among Colorado voters about illegal immigration released more data from the poll today that reaffirmed the point.

The “Part 2” follow-up findings by Colorado pollster Magellan Strategies from its April 26-27 land-line and cell-phone survey of 500 likely 2018 general election voters suggest our purple-state electorate is ambivalent about repealing Obamacare, with 48 percent opposing the current health-care law and 47 supporting it. And fully 60 percent of all respondents in both parties said the Democratic Party is out of touch — topped by 63 percent who said the Republican Party is out of touch.

On immigration, 53 percent of respondents were against a proposal to withhold federal funding from jurisdictions deemed “sanctuary cities,” and just a little shy of two-thirds, or 62 percent, opposed building a multibillion-dollar wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

In Part 1 of its survey findings released a few days ago, illegal immigration turned up way down the list of Colorado voters’ most pressing concerns. Among survey respondents overall, only 7.2 percent thought illegal immigration should be the top priority for Congress and the president to address. “Create good jobs/grow economy,” “funding transportation infrastructure,” “reduce government spending/national debt,” “National security/fighting terrorism,” “repeal/replace Obamacare,” and “tax reform” all polled higher. Immigration was in fact at the bottom of the list of specific issues submitted to the survey respondents.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 3, 20173min367

Much already has been reported about the latest Magellan Strategies poll released this week on Colorado’s political mood. The most noteworthy findings: The state’s voters prefer electing Democrats to Congress and disapprove of President Trump. Those leanings are more pronounced among the fully one third of the state’s voters who are registered unaffiliated. Interesting and perhaps troubling for Republicans.

Here’s a less prominent finding worth pondering: For all the ink we in the news media have devoted to both sides of the perennially superheated debate over illegal immigration, the Magellan survey found the issue was way down the list of Colorado voters’ most pressing concerns.

Among survey respondents overall, only 7.2 percent thought illegal immigration should be the top priority for Congress and the president to address. “Create good jobs/grow economy,” “funding transportation infrastructure,” “reduce government spending/national debt,” “National security/fighting terrorism,” “repeal/replace Obamacare,” and “tax reform” all polled higher. Immigration was in fact at the bottom of the list of specific issues submitted to the survey respondents.

Illegal immigration polled highest among Republican women, with almost 18 percent saying it should be the top priority in Washington, and it not surprisingly did better among Republicans in general — around 12 percent — than among Democrats at 3.1 percent.

Perhaps more telling was that among voters of all political persuasions and both sexes, only 3.4 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds and a mere 2.1 percent of 35-to-44-year-olds thought illegal immigration should be the top priority.

Could Colorado’s historically low unemployment rate be a factor in their outlook? If virtually no one is out of work, arguably, no one is worried about “losing jobs” to immigrants.

The survey of 502 likely Colorado voters in the 2018 general election was conducted by land line and cell phone April 26-27 and had a 4.38 percent margin of error.

 



Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 15, 20175min281

No one disputes that state Rep. Joe Salazar of Thornton referred to fellow state Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs as “half Latino” the other day at a gathering away from the Capitol. It’s on video. But was it an attempt to discredit Williams in the eyes of other Latinos by implying he’s less than the real deal? Or, was it the opposite — an insinuation  Williams is betraying his heritage with his hardline views against illegal immigration?

The Republican Williams — who has infuriated House Democrats with his legislation on the subject — believes it is the former, and he took to the House floor this morning to decry Salazar’s remark. Without naming names, per House rules, Williams told fellow House members, in part:

“One of our members referred to me a as a ‘half-Latino,’ and this term was used as a means to diminish my standing on this (immigration) policy issue and to lessen my credibility within the Latino community. These tactics are disgraceful and in poor taste. I’m sorry that my surname doesn’t match my ethnicity or my heritage, but I’m proud of who I am and where I come from. I get the partisanship of this place, and I understand the need for both sides to score political points from time to time, but this crossed the line. This was disrespectful to me and to my family. The very implication that my voice on matters concerning the Latino community doesn’t count because I’m not full-blooded, this is something that should not be tolerated.”

Williams then went on to recap how he had sought admission to the Colorado Latino Caucus, an informal legislative body consisting of Latino members. He said he was turned down.

“Initially, I chalked it up to mere partisanship, but now, I can’t help but wonder if there’s another reason,” he told his colleagues.

Salazar, reached later today for comment, says Williams’s authenticity as a Latino voice was the furthest thing from his mind when he made the comment.

“It’s not for me to judge his Latino-ness,” Salazar said.

“That’s how he identified himself to us when I first met him. He said, ‘I’m half Latino…When I was at the Colorado Latino Forum I needed to provide those forum participants some context that this guy is half Latino and this is what he’s doing to Latino communities.”

As for Williams’ request to be a part of the caucus, Salazar said Williams’s ethnic status had nothing to do with that, either.

“It’s called the Democratic Latino Caucus. They can certainly start their (own) caucus if they want,” Salazar said, referring to Latino Republicans in the Colorado legislature.

Salazar is a Bernie Sanders Democrat with gubernatorial ambitions. Williams is a member of the GOP’s get-tough-on-illegal-immigration wing; he has made national news with his bill holding elected leaders liable in civil and criminal courts for crimes committed by undocumented residents. The two lawmakers are poles apart on immigration and probably most other issues.

Perhaps it’s no surprise they would read the same remark opposite ways.


ColoradoPolitics.com’s Peter Marcus contributed to this report


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningFebruary 15, 20178min845

A House Republican took a Democratic colleague to task Wednesday for calling him “half Latino” as the debate over sanctuary policies for undocumented immigrants simmers at the state Capitol. Saying he wanted to talk about “a matter that affects the dignity of this chamber,” state Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, took to the House microphone near the end of morning announcements to “call attention to the insensitive words that were spoken about me” during a discussion about pending legislation concerning sanctuary policies.