Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 23, 20171min680

As has become his tradition, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman feasted and gave thanks with the troops this year as he celebrated the holiday service members stationed at Camp Humphreys in Pyeontaek, South Korea.

He said it was his honor.

“Having served, I understand how hard it is to be away from loved ones, especially during the holidays, so for me it’s important to thank them and their families, for their service and sacrifice,” Coffman, who served in the Army and Marines, including both Gulf wars, said in a statement.

Coffman’s office she he also visited Colorado service members stationed at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek.

The Aurora Republican is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and chairs the subcommittee on Military Personnel. Coffman lead a bipartisan congressional delegation to South Korea and Japan. The visited the Korean Demilitarized Military Zone, the site of escalating tensions with North Korea. He was joined on the trip by fellow Armed Services Committee members Anthony Brown, D-Md., and Thomas Suozzi, D-H.Y.


Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 23, 20172min41
Imagine this, people who have been waiting long enough for some George Jetson innovation: a home or office building that could sense how many people were inside, where they are and generally what they’re doing, then adjust the thermostat and ventilation. In the bargain, energy savings up to about 30 percent. That’s what researchers at […]

This content is only available to subscribers.

Login or Subscribe


Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 23, 20178min55
George Brauchler, once lost in a primary pack running for governor, is walking on sunshine now that he’s the lone Republican in the attorney general’s race — an office Republicans usually win. Colorado Politics on Tuesday laid out the way the Brauchler found himself in this position, as four Democrats slug in out in what’s likely […]

This content is only available to subscribers.

Login or Subscribe


Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 22, 20178min5240

We waited for months to see if Cynthia Coffman, Colorado’s attorney general, would run for governor. She broke the news at an inopportune time: the morning after Election Day, when the core of the political press and politically engaged voters were still trying to figure out the previous night’s significance.

Questions about her candidacy then deepened quickly. When the conservative base and its radio commentators ask if you’re pro-choice or pro-life, an odd answer is to say stay tuned to find out. When the influential Republican Women of Weld throw a shindig with a chuckwagon dinner for gubernatorial candidates, the smart move is to dig in. If I ask a candidate about how they would pay for transportation, it’s a sign they’re in trouble if the response is to offer me a job.

And that was Coffman’s first week on the campaign trail. At a week and a day, we learned the person presumed to be her campaign manager was no longer — or never was — running her the campaign, and Coffman’s fundraiser is dealing with the press — badly.

Platform, money, organization and momentum are not on her side, according to my very round circle of Republican sources, who talk politics like Michael Jordan shoots baskets.

In my one way-too-short scheduled phone interview, Coffman assured me my Republican sources are in the minority of her party, but she would have to get back to me on explaining why when she had more time.

In a significant event, CBS4’s Shuan Boyd reported that Coffman supports abortion rights. That was big disappointing news to a handful of conservative talk radio hosts, led by my friend Dan Caplis, who assumed her conservative credentials led her away from such a position. If she had said that in 2014, she never would have gotten elected attorney general, he contends.

Coffman’s spokeswoman, Caroline Wren, said the attorney general has never voiced her position on abortion. Coffman will address it on the campaign trail when the time’s right, she said.

Wren told me the reason Coffman missed the gubernatorial forum in Fort Lupton was because she was flying back from Palm Beach, Fla., where she attended a Republican Attorneys General conference. Coffman used the event to vouch for George Brauchler, who dropped out of the governor’s race and helped clear a path for Coffman and himself. The Weld County gathering would have been Coffman’s first campaign outing since her announcement. She would have been the only woman GOP candidate at a Republican women’s event.

Coffman politics are curious.

With abortion in the balance, she is pro-gay rights, but on other issues she fishes off the same pier as alt-right gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo. She sued to oppose President Obama’s Clean Power Plan to fight climate change. Coffman refused to join a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general to sue the Trump administration over the Dream Act, which shields undocumented people from being deported if they were brought to the U.S. as children. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper appointed a special counsel to represent the state in the matter instead.

So who is her base from that record?

“I hope I pull from everybody who’s in that primary right now, and I think I will, because I think my voice is unique enough that I’ll get folks from all directions,” she told me.

Coffman pointed to her 2014 win.

“I brought in, in particular, women from unaffiliated and the Democrat party to come over and vote for me,” she said. “I will do that again. I have no doubt. I have more experience. I have a stronger voice now. I have more to talk about and more that I want to do. I feel very good about the path to victory.”

It’s not just her platform she’s not yet ready to talk about. Operatives already are trying to sink her campaign by reminding the press about her role in a “sexual blackmail” scandal just two years ago. Then-state Republican Party chairman Steve House said Coffman, Tancredo and Becky Mizel, who then chaired the Pueblo County Republican Party, tried to force him to resign or they would expose an alleged extra-marital affair.

They were ticked off that House failed to hire ultra-conservative former state Sen. Ted Harvey to be the state GOP’s executive director, a perceived snub to the base when Trump was first ascending.

“Frankly, I’m not going to spend time on it,” Coffman told me when I asked about it. Then she deflected other questions and reminded me my time was running out.

Tancredo said House blew the whole thing out of proportion. House maintained that he had never cheated on his wife.

On the issues, Coffman didn’t have a plan to fund transportation, potentially a huge issue for the next governor, but she’s working on it. She asked me, jokingly, if I wanted to join the campaign to help figure it out.

She hasn’t used the extra time she took before getting in the race to raise money, either.

If she had stayed in the AG’s race, her fundraising would still be pretty grim for an incumbent. She raised about $47,000 for her campaign, while Democrat Phil Weiser pulled in $724,371. Only one of the five Democrats in the AG’s race reported less cash than Coffman, state Rep. Joe Salazar at $33,414.

“I’m pretty good at running a lean and mean campaign,” she said. “And part of the reason I can do that is because I have extraordinarily loyal supporters.”

But here’s the alternate reality. If the much-anticipated candidate had gotten in the governor’s race even four months ago, she might have been a Thanksgiving contender instead of a holiday curiosity. That is, if she had been raising money, having her allies organize a super PAC, elevating her media profile and articulating a clear message to remind Republican voters who she is.

And she should have solidified a base — any base — before the autumn leaves began to fall.

She told my pal Jesse Paul at The Denver Post in July that she had a timetable in her head, and that she saw a path to victory.

“The path has actually gotten better,” she told me in November. “It’s gotten more clear.”

Stay tuned.


Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 22, 20173min71
The Colorado Farm Bureau, the Big Kahuna of the state’s agriculture interests, recognized Service to Ag winners at its annual meeting in the Denver Tech Center last week. Mel and Maureen Rettig, long-time Mesa County Farm Bureau members, and Phil Seng, CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, were honored at a banquet with 300 […]

This content is only available to subscribers.

Login or Subscribe


Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 22, 20173min4340

Wait, what? It’s not unusual for protestors to gather at the offices of senators, but it gets your attention when DACA activists do so at the office of Michael Bennet.

Bennet has been a champion for immigration reform and just last month signed a letter to the Department of Homeland Security seeking to shield information about those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program.

Heck, Bennet sponsored the Dream Act.

But now activists want him and 25 other Democrats to refuse to pass the federal budget, risking a government shutdown, unless it contains a measure to reinstate the Dream Act.

Dreamers, organized by the Colorado Immigration Rights Coalition, set up a Thanksgiving table with empty chairs outside Bennet’s office with a sign that said, “Is this my next Thanksgiving?”

“If a Dream Act does not pass before the end of 2017, the chances of the bill passing are significantly diminished, and puts hundreds of thousands of Dreamers at risk of deportation,” the Colorado coalition said. “It also places Dreamers in a precarious situation where a “dirty” Dream Act with draconian immigration security measures will be the only option for Dreamer legalization. This would effectively put their families at risk of deportation in exchange for legal status.”

The organization said Colorado is home to 17,000 DACA recipients, who could face deportation.

“An American Dream without my family is a nightmare,” Dreamer Mateo Lozano said in a statement.

Politico reported Thursday that House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that there was no need to address DACA now because the program doesn’t expire until March under a six-month timeline spelled out by President Donald Trump’s executive order.

Senate Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi vowed, “We will not leave here without the DREAM Act passing, with a DACA fix.” Politico said Pelosi added, “We’re not kicking the can down to March.”

A study by the conservative CATO Institute this year suggested abandoning DACA could cost the overall U.S. economy $200 billion over the next decade.

“These workers, most of whom are in their 20s and hitting their peak earnings years, would end up not finishing college and taking jobs in the underground economy, earning much less and probably not paying any taxes at all,” CATO Institute Fellow Ike Brannon said on CNBC.


Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 21, 20173min6060

An educational center in Denver for people with Down syndrome has received an amazing display of heart and generosity. The Salah Foundation gave $1 million to the Colorado-based Global Down Syndrome Foundation during a gala this month.

That donation is to be followed by matching grants.

“We are thrilled to support the work of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation as they continue to create extraordinary change in the lives of people with Down syndrome and their families,” Noreen Salah Burpee, executive director of The Salah Foundation, said in a statement. “We hope that others will follow suit and open their hearts and wallets to this important project.”

The Salah Foundation supports “education, medical research, community development and self-sufficiency programs aimed at the economically disadvantaged, the young, the elderly and the disabled.”

“We are so grateful for The Salah Foundation and Noreen for making this generous and impactful gift to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation,” said John C. McGinley, the actor who played Dr. Cox on “Scrubs” and Stanley on “Stan Against Evil,” as well as a Global Down Syndrome Foundation board member. “The team at Global works hard and is truly delivering for the Down syndrome community. This will allow them to reach even more people.”

McGinley participated in the gala and fashion show at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel this month, where the announcement was made. An audience of about 1,300 mingled with celebrities, including Quincy Jones, Jamie Foxx, DeOndra Dixon, Marisa Tomei, Joe Manganiello, John C. McGinley, Matt Dillon and Eva Longoria.

With a goal of opening during the last six months of next year. the education center would be located in near the Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s new international headquarters in Denver’s Cherry Creek North shopping district.

Colorado Politics told our readers last month about the internationally renowned research being led by the Global Down Syndrome Foundation with its partners that include Colorado’s Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome.