Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 7, 20175min4796

A whole new cast of candidates aims to take the baton from the current crop of reformers leading Douglas County schools. They’re calling their four-person slate Elevate Douglas County, and a lot is riding on whether they can carry the day in the upcoming school board election this fall — and restart momentum for change.

Public schools in fast-growing Douglas County have been on the leading edge of education reform for years — for better or for worse, depending on whom you ask. Successive iterations of reform-minded boards elected to lead the Douglas County School District since 2009 have implemented a host of far-reaching changes. That includes effectively ending collective bargaining in 2012 with a local chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, which long represented DougCo district faculty and staff, and establishing a groundbreaking but controversial school-voucher program to help pay tuition at private schools of parents’ choosing. That program has been stalled by a court challenge.

The county’s decidedly Republican skew has fostered a fertile climate for such policies, which are crowd pleasers in GOP ranks. Yet, the changes also set off a tug-of-war, even among some Republicans, over just how far the reforms should go. Opponents — supported at times by the state’s largest teachers union, the Colorado Education Association, which wouldn’t mind bringing the county’s educators into its own fold — have pushed back.

As a result, the DougCo school board now is split 4-3 in favor of the ongoing reforms — it’s a thin margin on which to continue that mandate — and losing just one more seat likely would result in an outright about-face by the board. That could happen in the board election this November.

Elevate Douglas County would bring all fresh faces to the board: Randy Mills, Debora Scheffel, Grant Nelson and Ryan Abresch. Scheffel, who is the sister of Republican former state Sen. Mark Scheffel, is well-known as a former member of the State Board of Education. The four are seeking the seats of current reformers James Geddes, Steven Peck, Judith Reynolds and Meghann Silverthorn — the four members whose terms expire this fall. No word yet on their intentions and whether they’ll stand aside for the new wave of change agents.

The Elevate slate announced in a press statement today that all four have filed their paperwork as candidates for the November face-off, and they touted these objectives:

The slate is focused on quelling the discord and division in the district while renewing the tradition of excellence in Douglas County Schools, empowering parents to be partners in their children’s education, fostering an environment that supports and respects educators, and expanding educational options, such as career and technical training, for students.

The slate’s announcement closely follows last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision ordering Colorado’s Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling two years ago barring DougCo from implementing its voucher program. The state’s highest court had ruled at the time that Colorado’s constitution included, “broad, unequivocal language forbidding the State from using public money to fund religious schools.” Last week’s ruling by the nation’s top court, following its decision on a related case, sets the stage for a potentially landmark ruling by the state Supreme Court — that could reopen the door to vouchers in DougCo.

Given its overall trajectory, the Elevate slate presumably would stand by the previous board majority’s support for the idled voucher program, though that does not so far seem to be a big part of the slate’s campaign platform.

Jared WrightJared WrightFebruary 17, 201631min407

The Colorado Statesman Hot Sheet

By TCS Publisher and Editor in Chief Jared Wright _@JaredWright_

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

DENVER – Happy Wednesday, and good luck to you for the rest of your week. We are a mere three days away from the Nevada Caucuses, when we will be given a taste of how these presidential candidates perform in a Western state. We really have no sense going into Nevada what will happen due to only six public polls being conducted in the state over the last year. This compared to New Hampshire residents being polled nearly 50 times — enough to make you want to disconnect your phone.

Washington Republicans will also hold their caucus Saturday, but only to select delegates to go on to legislative district and county conventions. Washington holds its presidential primary on May 24.

Of course, South Carolina’s primary is also Saturday, where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton continue to maintain big leads. South Carolina’s results may very well cull the Republican heard even more this weekend, with the most likely drop out coming up next from Ben Carson.

Now your substrata feed straight from the politics pipeline:

State Senate Pres. showing symptoms of Lameduckitis? — Yesterday, Senate President Bill Cadman, a Republican lawmaker serving his 16th and last year in the legislature this year provided the easily excitable media with some caffeine during a morning news conference. Cadman responded to the media’s question of the week — What about Scalia’s replacement? His answer quickly went viral. “Both sides have a job to do, so I think the political posturing right now is somewhat unfortunate,” he said. “This is actually the time when the Republican Senate would have an influence on a Democratic presidential nominee.”

Right on, Bill, telling it like it is, being a maverick …

Above, Sen. Bill Cadman outside the state Capitol building giving his morning news conference.

But wait … Cadman later clarified his earlier statement, saying he was not aligning himself with the Democrat’s position on the Scalia replacement issue, in what he at least felt had been a misinterpretation of his comments by Denver Post reporter John Frank who first broke the story. “If a majority of Senators choose to reject a nominee, or delay confirmation until after President Obama leaves office, they are perfectly within their rights, in my opinion, and doing the ‘job’ the Constitution assigns them, Cadman said.”

Above, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thanking state Sen. Bill Cadman for making his clarifying statement.

Humor people, it’s called humor …

Read the full story by John Tomasic in The Colorado Statesman here.

Everything else you need to know to get you up to speed on the SCOTUS nominee battle here and here, including a rising tide of concern over why an autopsy was not performed on Scalia’s body.

Doug Lamborn is in it to win it again — Perennial Republican primary victor and U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn said in a statement released this morning that he will seek re-election to the 5th Congressional District. Lamborn is in his fifth term as representative for the 5th District in Colorado Springs.

“From voting to repeal Obamacare and de-fund Planned Parenthood, to fighting hard and making the tough budgetary decisions needed to fund our military in the face of Barack Obama’s draconian defense cuts, and to always voting to keep our taxes low, I have stood up for the people of the Fifth Congressional District every step of the way,” said Lamborn.

Cash on hand – $225,000

Lamborn’s full statement: 

“Ronald Reagan is my political hero. At a recent event commemorating his 105th birthday, I reflected on what an honor it is to carry forward the conservative values and principles of the Reagan revolution into the 21st Century. No matter what pressures come from big government liberals, I will always stand up and fight for traditional values, lower taxes, smaller government, and a strong national defense.

From voting to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood, to fighting hard and making the tough budgetary decisions needed to fund our military in the face of Barack Obama’s draconian defense cuts, and to always voting to keep our taxes low, I have stood up for the people of the Fifth Congressional District every step of the way.

I will continue to work hard in my leadership positions on the Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Veterans Affairs Committees to support our veterans, our active duty men and women in uniform, and for a brighter and more prosperous economic future for our Colorado and our country.

I humbly ask for the continued support of the voters of the Fifth Congressional District. It is through this support that I have repeatedly been elected to Congress and have roughly $225,000 cash on hand for my re-election campaign.  It is an honor and a privilege to be your Representative in Washington DC.

— Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05)”
Morrissey makes his move — Incumbent Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey announced his endorsement of one of two current DA employees running to replace him yesterday, giving props to current Senior Deputy District Attorney Kenneth Boyd. There are four candidates running for Denver DA currently, including CU Regent and former Denver Deputy District Attorney Michael Carrigan, current state Rep. and former Denver Chief Deputy District Attorney Beth McCann, and current Denver Chief Deputy District Attorney Helen Morgan. Whether Morgan, a registered independent who has worked in the Denver DA’s office for more than 21 years, sees this as a slap in the face from her boss or not, we do not know at this time. But, if you’re not going to stay out of it, you have to pick somebody right?

Boyd is the nephew of former Denver DA and Colorado Governor Bill Ritter.

The continuing battle for Middle Earth, Senate District 19 — Incumbent state Sen. Laura Woods is taking her campaign very seriously, even in the middle of a busy legislative session, out knocking on doors in her district. Clearly, she understands how competitive her seat is, and the very real possibility it could flip the control of the 18-17 Senate next session.

Woods is facing a general election challenge from former Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, a Democrat who formerly held the seat for one year (2014) after being appointed by vacancy committee following the resignation of Evie Hudak.

Finance report: In her Jan. 15 campaign finance filing, Woods reported raising $18,542.00 in Q4 with a beginning balance of $43,948.54. She currently has $61,116.96 cash on hand.

Zenzinger raised $37,301.71 in the 4th Quarter of 2015. She filed her candidate affidavit on August 14, 2015. She has a cash on hand balance of $36,137.23.

Senate District 19 breakdown: As of January, the district voter registration breakdown for SD-19 is the following:

Active registered voters: 27,526 Democrats, 28,436 Republicans, 32,659 Unaffiliated
Inactive registered voters: 4,275 Democrats, 3,633 Republicans, 6,549 Unaffiliated

Most recent presidential polling — People are scared:

The nation:

Suffolk University/USA Today: Negative response based —

People scared by Trump GOP nomination — 38% of likely voters, 62% of Democrats, 17% of Republicans and 33% of Independents

People scared by Clinton Democratic nomination — 33% of likely voters, 60% of Republicans, 8% of Democrats and 35% of Independents.

People scared by Sanders Democratic nomination — 45% of Republicans, 28% of Independents and 12% of Democrats.

South Carolina:

ARG poll released yesterday (400 likely GOP South Carolina primary voters) — Trump 33%, Rubio 16%, Cruz 14%, Kasich 14%, Bush 9%, Carson 3%, Undecided 8%

CNN polling the Democrats — Clinton leads Sanders 56-38%

Benjamin Lyng CORRECTION — Yesterday, I reported that GOP Senate District 4 candidate Benjamin Lyng was holding a fundraiser in Greenwood Village hosted by a committee of four people who do not live in the senate district. This was inaccurate. In fact, one out of the four member host committee lives in Senate District 4. Ted Engel (Dr. Bernard Edward Engel, a local MD), does, in fact, live in Castle Rock, within the Senate District 4 boundaries. I apologize for the error. Lyng has come under fire for his recent move into Senate District 4 from his Cheeseman Park home in downtown Denver, having purchased a home in Castle Pines in October and then filing his candidacy on January 11. Lyng is facing a backlash from some in the district who feel he cannot properly represent their communities, since he has only lived there for a short period of time. The term “Bagger Ben” has been going around amongst those chapfallen folks, indicating he is a political carpetbagger, a reference we referred to about a month ago in our Chatter column. Several sources claim Lyng has had his eye on elected office for some time, selecting to run for this particular open senate seat (incumbent Sen. Mark Scheffel is term limited) because of its high Republican voter registration performance and strong potential he wins the election if he can convince enough Republican assembly-goers to vote for him. Some of Lyng’s supporters come to his defense, claiming he chose to move into the district to get out of the city and raise his family in the suburban Douglas County area. Their defense suggests Lyng’s filing to run for office now is just a coincidental sort of, ‘hey why not’ …

Three other candidates are seeking the office — all Republican — Jess LobanMeghann Silverthorn and James Smallwood. Actually …

BREAKING: New candidate files for SD-4 — Make that four other Republican candidates. Lyng may now have some carpetbagger cover with the arrival of a new candidate (assuming it’s a legitimate filing), massage therapist Shawnda Dupree. With a registered Grand Junction mailing address and an Austin, Texas area code, Dupree has officially jumped into the race, filing her papers with the secretary of state’s office yesterday.

Dupree is somewhat of a mystery candidate at this point. Rest assured, we will continue to monitor the SD-4 race and keep you posted.


Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program, Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture Reception — Tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Governor’s Mansion from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.

Colorado Beverage Association, Legislative Reception — Tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 17, at the University Club, 17th and Sherman, 5:30 – 7:30 pm.

Colorado Nonprofit Association, Annual Meeting and 30th Birthday Reception — Thurs. Feb. 18, Kevin Taylor at the Opera House, 1345 Champa St. Denver, 5:30 pm

Adams State University Reception — Thurs. Feb. 18, Warwick Hotel, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

South Carolina Primaries — Democrats: Saturday, Feb. 20; Republicans, Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Nevada Caucuses — Saturday, February 20

Washington Republican Caucuses — Saturday, February 20

Annual Conservation Community Legislative Reception — University Club

Secretary Ken Salazar for Jeff Bridges Endorsement Event — Home of Rutt and Annie Bridges, 9694 E Progress Place, Greenwood Village, Wed. Feb. 24, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Super Tuesday, including Colorado caucuses — March 1

Agriculture Day at the Capitol — Set for Tuesdays, March 16 — get ready for awesome food and great folks to descend upon the Capitol.

Want your event listed? Just let me know.


Happy Birthday wishes to: State Sen. Owen Hill, House Assistant Majority Leader Dominick Moreno, and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb. And … a Happy Belated Birthday to UYYour.S. Rep. Ken Buck, who celebrated yesterday.

From the wires:

The Gazette’s Meghan Schrader reports on Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers being at odds with county commissioners across Colorado over Sen. Cheri Jahn’s  bill, SB100, a bill that has pitted Colorado Counties Incorporated against the Colorado Municipal League (who no-doubt instigated the legislation) over transportation mill levy funding.

Roll Call’s Simone Patheé reports on 30 House GOP freshmen members of Congress calling on GOP presidential candidates to focus on the debt.
The Denver Post has a report on Chelsea Clinton’s campaign events in Denver and Boulder this week.

A report from KRDO reports that a judge has ruled that details of the Planned Parenthood shooting should stay sealed.

The Boulder Daily Camera’s Sarah Kuta reports on Edward Snowden’s video chat last night at CU-Boulder

Read a Denver Post editorial that says Sen. Pat Steadman’s sentencing bill, SB-98, goes too far.

9News reports the teen charged with murdering Mesa County Sheriff Deputy Derek Geer will be charged as an adult.

Colorado Capitol Watch —From our bill tracking partners:

House Bill Wrap-Up: Today 

Senate Bill Wrap-Up: Today

Bills Passed 3rd Reading: Today

FOUR New Bills: Today

394 All Bills:  As of 2/16

178 Bipartisan Bills:  As of 2/16

Audio Update: Today

2/17: Bills on calendar in order

2/17: Bills on calendar sortable 

All: Upcoming Bills From Today


House and Senate Calendars:

HOUSE – Your Feb. 17 Calendar here 

SENATE – Your Feb. 17 Calendar here 

You’re up to date. Have a great hump day! Until tomorrow …
Tell us what you know! — To submit a tip, event, happening, gossuping, chattering or other interesting tidbit to The Hot Sheet, click here to submit via our contact form … yes, even anonymously if you’re feeling all cloak and dagger.


Jared WrightJared WrightFebruary 10, 201631min500

The Colorado Statesman Hot Sheet

By TCS Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Jared Wright@_JaredWright_

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

DENVER – Good morning, happy Wednesday, and here’s to a good start to the rest of your week …

Your post-N.H. presidential recap and analysis:

As the polling from the last several days predicted, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders walked away from the Granite State last night with respective wins, Trump commanding 35.1% of the vote and Sanders with a whopping 60% — Clinton conceding the race very early in the evening. Ohio Gov. John Kasich was a bit more of a surprise — though not a complete one — coming in second place in the Republican primary with a distant 15.9%, winning 3 New Hampshire delegates. The guys who called Kasich’s second place “win” will tell you no surprise at all. Several pundits noted Kasich’s all-out-all-in New Hampshire campaign operation leading up to last night, including hosting over 100 town-hall-style meetings in the state, the most New Hampshire appearances by any candidate in this race.

An ARG poll two days prior to the first presidential primary also showed Kasich and Marco Rubio tied for second place to Trump, the end results perhaps evidence of an erosion of support for Rubio following a debate andtown hall flub and the resulting volley of attacks thrown at the Florida senator, an operation led by Jeb Bush and Chris Christie along with outside groups including “America Needs Leadership” dropping mailers ahead of the primary vote last night.

Some believed Bush was finding his stride in New Hampshire … not so much say New Hampshire’s voters. The candidate will now reportedly be going scorched-earth on Kasich and Rubio leading up to the Feb. 20 South Carolina caucus. With eight military installations and 58,000 military retirees, many of Bush’s attacks will be centered in military and veterans issues according to an internal memo circulated by the campaign.

Christie, meanwhile, is heading home to New Jersey to reassess his options, a serious indicator for a campaign that previously claimed it was in it for the long haul.


Yes, Brandon, I believe you could safely ingest that now, though I’m not sure where you picked it up. Trunk of someone’s car in Iowa? Little old lady in a farmhouse? Bought on Amazon?

The bottom line takeaway from last night?

1. Trump is not going away. He has built up a lot of momentum now heading into South Carolina and the rest of the country,
2. Kasich will create a temporary headache for the GOP establishment as the party continues to try to launch a legitimate Trump alternative,
3. Sanders has very real, though predicted, momentum out of New Hampshire,
4. Clinton faces a very serious campaign now, and, depending on how she proceeds, could even be in very real trouble which is why perhaps, as Dick Morris claims here, she is calling in the B Team.

“A trap is only a trap if you don’t know about it. If you know about it, it’s a challenge.” — China Miéville, King Rat


Now, your substrata feed straight from Colorado’s politics pipeline:

TABOR author could be headed back to jail — Douglas Bruce now faces resentencing on March 11 after being found guilty of violating his probation with a laundry list of complaints from his probation officers.

7th CD candidate Baker should resign his council seat says Top Adams County Republican — ICYMI, 7th Congressional District Candidate, and current Westminster City Councilman Bruce Baker was very publicly chastised Monday night by Maria del Carmen Guzman Weese, the Republican vice chair of the 7th CD, who is a former supporter of Baker’s. Weese called Baker out at the city council meeting for his comments about halting immigration to the country.

Clean Power Plan stalls — The SCOTUS stayed the implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan yesterday, pending disposition of the applicants petitions for review in the US Court of Appeals … A very surprising move by the US Supreme Court which normally does not block federal regulations — particularly when petitioner’s requests have already been denied by the D.C. Circuit Court. You can find case documents here.

A relatively unknown candidate in SD4 with a well-known registered agent — Another candidate looking to fill Sen. Mark Scheffel’s seat in Senate District 4, Jim Smallwood, the President of Employee Benefits at Moody Insurance Agency, has filed his paperwork with the secretary of state’s office. While Smallwood is a name not well known in the political community, his registered agent is a recognizable face in Capitol circles — Sheryl Fernandez, former aide to state Rep. Libby Szabo and now scheduler and office manager for U.S. Rep. Ken Buck. It will be interesting to see how this candidacy plays out. His website is currently under construction.

Smallwood joins three other Republican candidates in that race (due to district registration numbers, whoever wins the Republican nomination will very likely be the next senator): Jess Loban, Benjamin Lyng, and Meghann Silverthorn.

Finance report: Silverthorn has raised a total of $1,668.03 with $1,255.09 cash on hand. Loban has raised a total of $2,791.05 with an additional $1,000 loan and $600 in non-monetary contributions. He has $513.74 cash on hand. Smallwood and Lyng have not yet been required to file reports due to their recent entry dates into the race.

Republican jumps in to take on Salazar — A Republican candidate forHouse District 31 will challenge incumbent Democrat state Rep. Joe Salazar and will be announcing her candidacy this evening in Thornton. Jessica Sandgren is a teacher and Westminster native. She appears to have strong support from House leadership, with Minority Leader Brian Delgrosso, Assistant Minority Leader Polly Lawrence and House Minority Whip Perry Buck listed as co-hosts for her announcement event this evening.

Finance report: To date, Sandgren has raised $1,595.00 and has $1,445.48 cash on hand. Salazar has raised $9,053.00 with a carry-over balance of $2,947.70 and has $7,593.12 cash on hand.

There was a parade yesterday … (over 1 million strong, and with at least one awesome hat in attendance — Sen. Kent Lambert’s) —


Followed by a bomb threat — Someone called in a bomb threat to the Capitol around 4:15 pm yesterday, closing the building down for several hours while Colorado State Patrol scoured the building for anything suspicious. CSP gave the all clear just after 7:00 pm with business as usual at the Capitol today.



Democratic Presidential Debate Watch Party  — Thursday, February 11, 2016, 6:00 pm, Capitol Cigars, 919 E Colfax Ave, Denver. Co-hosted by Colorado Young Dems, Capitol Cigars and The Colorado Statesman.

Colorado Democrat’s Jefferson Jackson … I mean 83rd Annual Dinner —Saturday, February 13, 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm MST, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, 1550 Court Pl, Denver. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both speaking at the event.

Jefferson County Republican Men’s Club Breakfast — Monday, February 15, 7:00 am to 9:00 am, Davies Chuck Wagon Diner, 10151 W 26th Ave, Wheat Ridge: Tom Tancredo will be presenting on “Why he is no longer a Republican.”

South Carolina Primary — Democrats: Saturday, Feb. 20; Republicans, Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Agriculture Day at the Capitol — Set for Tuesdays, March 16 — get ready for awesome food and great folks to descend upon the Capitol.


“Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it’s important.”— Eugene J. McCarthy

More from the wires:

The Denver Post’s David Migoya reports on Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg’s bill, SB-44, to block the state from challenging land appraisals except in far narrower circumstances.

The Statesman’s Ramsey Scott reports on Reps. Faith Winter and Jeni Arndt’s climate action plan bill, HB-1004.

Ramsey also has a report for you on the dueling House-Senate full-day kindergarten efforts from kindred spirits Sen. Andy Kerr and Rep. Jim Wilson. Both headed for fails on this one?

The Gazette’s editorial board has it’s opinion on the blow served by SCOTUS to the Clean Power Plan with congratulatory remarks to Colorado AG Cynthia Coffman

KDVR’s web staff have this report on the ‘million fan march’ downtown yesterday to celebrate the Broncos Super Bowl 50 win.

The Durango Herald’s Mary Shinn reports on the Durango City Council’s considering a long-term housing for the homeless project.

Roll Call Staff writes, “What we learned from New Hampshire”

Politico’s Benton Ives reports on President Obama’s sought after tax hikes on banks and the wealthy to pay for the $4 trillion budget.

Throwback — 9to5’s Erin Bennet wrote a guest column in 2015 for theDenver Post calling on Colorado to address the pay equity gap — a drum beat now going strong under the Gold Dome.

Colorado Capitol Watch — From our bill tracking partner at Colorado Capitol Watch:

House Bill Wrap-Up: Today (2/9)

Senate Bill Wrap-Up:  Today (2/9)

Bills Passed 3rd Reading: Today (2/9)

NO New Bills:  2016 2/9  

380 All Bills:  2016 

Bipartisan Bills: 2016, This Week

Audio Update: This WeekToday 

 2/10 3rd Reading of Bills 

2/10 Calendar & Upcoming Bills 

All Upcoming Bills 

House and Senate Calendars:

HOUSE – Your Feb. 10 Calendar here 

SENATE – Your Feb. 10 Calendar here 

You’re up to date. Have a great Wednesday! Until tomorrow …

Tell us what you know! – To submit a tip, event, happening, gossuping, chattering or other interesting tidbit to The Hot Sheet, click here to submit via our contact form … yes, even anonymously if you’re feeling all cloak and dagger.


Jared WrightJared WrightFebruary 5, 201625min459
 The Colorado Statesman Hot Sheet

By TCS Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Jared Wright @_JaredWright_

Friday, February 5, 2016

DENVER – Happy Friday, and THANK YOU for your support and — if you were able to make it last night — for contributing to a phenomenal turnout at our Relaunch 118th Anniversary Celebration at the Governor’s Mansion!

For those of you who may have missed it, watch our incredibly well-produced promotional film (below) that was premiered at last night’s event to mark the occasion. Thanks to the team at Hidden Woods Media for their outstanding production work.

Long Live The Colorado Statesman
Long Live The Colorado Statesman
If you aren’t already, please consider supporting the excellent political journalism we bring to you on a daily basis here at The Colorado Statesman by becoming a Member Subscriber. Our award-winning publication relies largely on the support of readers like you who appreciate accurate, in-depth reporting of political and public policy news. We hope you will continue to help us champion this publication for another 118 years!
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“It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.” — Winston Churchill

Now, your substrata feed straight from the politics pipeline:
ICYMI, Mayor Michael “Super Bowl L, I mean 50” Hancock picks Carrigan — CU Regent Michael Carrigan snagged another big endorsement — in his run for Denver district attorney, this time from Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

Carrigan is in a three-way Democratic primary against state Rep. Beth McCann and senior deputy district attorney Kenneth Boyd. Unaffiliated candidate Helen Morgan, Denver’s chief deputy district attorney, is also running for the chance to take over for term-limited Denver DA Mitch Morrissey.

“Michael Carrigan is hands down Denver’s best choice for our next district attorney,” Hancock said in a statement. “He is a skilled lawyer, active community member and strong leader with the legal experience needed to ensure justice for Denver’s residents. I am confident Michael will bring a balanced perspective to the DA’s office to help make Denver a safer, better place.”

Carrigan and Boyd have begun the process of circulating petitions to get on the primary ballot. It might be a wise move. A dozen years ago, three Democrats were running for Denver DA, at that time to replace term-limited DA Bill Ritter, and one of them was McCann. She won big at the Denver assembly with 45 percent of the delegates, followed by John Walsh (he is Colorado’s U.S. attorney these days). Morrissey, who was endorsed by Ritter, came up short at assembly but made the ballot by petitioning and went on to win the primary and then win the general election three times. (Ritter, who went on to serve a term as governor, is Boyd’s uncle.)


Mayor Michael (Super Bowl L, I mean 50) Hancock and Michael Carrigan.

Right-to-die lives again in the House — Reps. Lois Court and Joann Ginal passed their right-to-die bill in House Judiciary Committee yesterday on a 6-5 party line vote after 10 hours of emotional testimony on both sides of the issue. This only one day after the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee killed the bill on a 3-2 vote — also party line.


Meet Rep. Cole Wist — you know, the new kid on the block (one of them) — Rep. Cole Wist introduces himself to you and, well, to the world — including people watching in their underwear from their mom’s dingy basements at 2:00 am and who knows where else (creepy) — in a special video report by Statesman staffer Ramsey Scott and intern Roxann Elliott.

Rep. Cole Wist introducing himself to the world wide webs.

In case you were wondering where Sen. Pat Steadman was last night  —Meanwhile, Sen. Pat Steadman went and saw the play, “All the Way” at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts last night. A play by Robert Schenkkan, it is a political drama awarded the Best Play Tony in 2014. It’s about President Lyndon B. Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. and their work to pass the Civil Rights Act. Good taste, Senator.


Conservation Colorado moves climate change bill forward — Reps. Jeni Arndt and Faith Winter’s bill, HB 16-1004, which would require Colorado’s climate action plan to include specific measurable goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or “increase Colorado’s adaptive capability to respond to climate change” and an annual report made to the legislature on progress made, was passed out of House, Health, Insurance and Environment Committee yesterday to the praise of Conservation Colorado and excitement of the two first-term legislators.

Smirking Martin Shkreli Pleads the Fifth — Former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli appeared all smirk but no talk yesterday in front of the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The 32 year old pharmaceuticals entrepreneur has come under federal scrutiny for dramatically raising the price of a life-saving drug, Daraprim, from $13.50 to $750 a pill.

Shkreli tweeted the following not long after the hearing:

Members of the Congressional committee were not amused and neither was Colorado state Sen. Linda Newell, stating on her own Twitter account:

While I agree with the good Senator from Littleton, it is important we hold the Fifth Amendment harmless in these cases and remain thankful for the right we enjoy — even when it is invoked in such seemingly petty, juvenile form. … Ok, off the soap box.

Bernie Sanders Campaign Hosting rally Saturday — No, he won’t be there … he’s kinda busy in New Hampshire right now. Colorado Educators for Bernie are hosting the rally to include campaign staff and local education activists and students.
GOP SD-4 primary getting more crowded — The GOP face-off in heavily Republican Senate District 4 — a seat opening next year after Senate Majority Leader Mark Scheffel, R-Parker, is term-limited — is getting more crowded. Someone named James Smallwood got the OK from the secretary of state’s office to start circulating petitions to make the June 28 primary ballot. Other Republicans already in the running for the Douglas County seat are businessman Benjamin Lyng; Jess Loban, a former candidate for Congress on the Libertarian ticket; and Douglas County School Board member Meghann Silverthorn.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. — Confucius


A happy belated birthday to Jim Nicholson of Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Schrek. Nicholson was the Chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1997-2001 and Secretary of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs from 2005-2007.

Also, Happy Birthday wishes to Joe Coors, former Sen. Michael Bennet aide Trevor Kincaid, now working in the White House, and Kevin Bronski, former aide to state Rep. Kathleen Conti.


Happy Anniversary (yesterday) to Rep. Joe Salazar (who made two “pivotal announcements” — see below — on the House floor yesterday) and his wife Jessica Chavez Salazar!

More from the wires:

The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Tom Roeder reports on U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn calling out a Veterans Affairs clinic for lying. “Heads need to roll,” he said.

The Statesman’s Ramsey Scott reports on Sen. President Bill Cadman’s giving a shout out to AFP and the corresponding outrage from Democrat lawmakers. He also got video.

CBS4 Denver jumped in with another report on Michael Hancock’s taking a taxpayer funded flight and hotel to the Super Bowl where he and his family have complimentary tickets from the Broncos.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debated again last night, watch the report on CNN.

According to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released yesterday, Bernie Sanders has a 20 point lead over Hillary Clinton currently in New Hampshire.

According to The Washington Post’s Philip Bump, Bernie Sanders won last night’s debate’s Google fight statistically speaking.

Roll Call’s Simone Pathé reports on how Obamacare repeal votes are motivating Democratic donors.

Tweet’s from last night’s Colorado Statesman Relaunch Party:

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Your Colorado Capitol Watch feed — From our bill tracking partner at Colorado Capitol Watch: As of 2/4 – 351 bills introduced, with 33 new bills and 138 bi-partisan. For bills on the calendar today, click here.

House and Senate Calendars:

HOUSE – Your Feb. 5 Calendar here 

SENATE – Your Feb. 5 Calendar here 

You are up to date. Stay safe out there and have a great weekend! Until Monday …

Tell us what you know! – To submit a tip, event, happening, gossuping, chattering or other interesting tidbit to The Hot Sheet, click here to submit via our contact form … yes, even anonymously if you’re feeling all cloak and dagger.

Special thanks today to Statesman Opinion, Politics and Elections Editor Ernest Luning for contributing to The Hot Sheet.