Cole-Wist-Speaking.jpg

Ernest LuningErnest LuningNovember 3, 20179min13850

Cole Wist, Colorado's assistant House Republican leader, says he’s “thinking seriously” about running for state attorney general in next year's election if GOP incumbent Cynthia Coffman decides to run for governor, and he expects to announce his plans within weeks, he told Colorado Politics. Coffman said months ago she was weighing a bid for governor rather than run for a second term but has yet to declare her intentions.


Screen-Shot-2017-07-03-at-9.51.54-PM.jpg

Joey BunchJoey BunchSeptember 20, 20176min485
With allies like Joe Salazar and Jared Polis, who needs Republicans? Salazar, a Democratic state representative running for attorney general next year, called out Democrats running for governor Wednesday, Jared Polis and . former state Sen, Mike Johnston want to move the state to 100 percent renewable energy sources by 204o. In an “open letter” […]

This content is only available to subscribers.

Login or Subscribe


b4924e22d72ea8368a99ef2e5cc500a8.jpg

Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 5, 20176min1480
Donna Lynne
Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne was introduced by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, background left, at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver on March 23, 2016. Lynne replaced Joe Garcia. (Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon/ The Denver Post via the AP file photo)

Liberal journalist David Sirota is calling out one of the Colorado left’s own in an article Friday in the International Business Times. He says the insurance industry could run “one of its own” for governor next year in Donna Lynne, the Kaiser Permanente executive Gov. John Hickenlooper appointed lieutenant governor just last year.

The far left is sweating the possibility of a business-friendly executive liked by many statehouse Republicans.

Read the story here.

Moderate Democrats, however, are sweating the exit of U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter from the Democratic primary, leaving the more liberal congressman Jared Polis from Boulder as the highest profile and likely to be the best-financed candidate in the primary. Republicans are giddy for the chance to run against Polis and welcome oil and gas money to help put a Republican in the governor’s mansion next year.

Our subscribers get the first look at Colorado Politics’ deep dive into how much money the oil and gas industry is ready to put in to oppose Polis, if he’s the nominee, and whether the greener members of the left can fight back. The article will be on our website starting Monday. (Lynne had yet to announce her exploratory committee when my magazine deadline hit, but Colorado Politics will certainly jump into her insurance industry tries as the race progresses.)

The second-in-command said she wouldn’t run for governor on the day she was introduced in the Capitol’s West Foyer. I reported was the first to report that on the day she was introduced as the nominee to replace Joe Garcia, who stepped down to take a job with the Boulder-based Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. I broke that story, too.

Sirota and his sources are wary of Lynne’s role in the race, it would appear. He and co-reporter Josh Keefe suggest Big Insurance will get behind the lieutenant governor, if she runs:

“As health insurance premiums inexorably rise and Democratic voters increasingly warm to the idea of government-sponsored health care, private insurers have funneled big money to political groups, helping ward off state single-payer proposals,” the International Business Times article begins. “Now in one of the highest-profile races of 2018, the industry appears to be taking the next step: running one of its own for governor.”

And fracktivists don’t have one of their own in Polis? Sirota and Keefe don’t go there in the Friday article.

They cite a quote from Gov. John Hickenlooper, who never embraced fracktivism and called Polis’ ideas “radical” in 2014, when Polis’ push for ballot initiatives on local control and setbacks threatened Hickenlooper’s re-election.

“She’s like a Hoover vacuum cleaner of problems,” Hick said in Sirota’s piece. “They just disappear, and everyone’s happy.”

Sirota and Keefe go on to cite Lynne’s history with the HMO that insures 680,000 people in Colorado, and the company’s history in politics.

“Under Lynne’s leadership, Kaiser was sanctioned twice by Colorado regulators for violating consumer protection laws, according to state records reviewed by International Business Times. One set of those sanctions was handed down by the administration of her current boss, Gov. Hickenlooper — a potential 2020 presidential candidate whose support Lynne may be counting on in the primary.”

Hickenlooper and Lynne opposed the single-player healthcare system for the state, ColoradoCare, that failed miserably on last November’s ballot. Only about 1 in 5 Coloradans supported it, but supporters were dramatically outspent by insurance industry opponents.

Sirota and Keefe quote Nathan Wilkes of Healthcare for All Coloradans, a group that supported ColoradoCare.

“It is difficult to imagine that a health insurance executive, whose company donated $500,000 to directly oppose (the single payer ballot measure) and affordable, quality health care for all Coloradans, would have the best interests of our citizens and their health at heart,” he said in the article.

Get your popcorn and 3D glasses, Republicans. There’s a all-Democrat wrestling match coming.


Screen-Shot-2016-03-23-at-4.29.32-AM-e1466308207731.png

Paula NoonanPaula NoonanMay 31, 20175min960

Both “sides” in the arguments over oil and gas development say the other is “taking advantage” of the explosions in Firestone and Mead. This should not be a time for sides. This should be a time for serious analysis. It can also provide an opening that should, for the sake of everyone in the state, cut through sides to allow common sense to function. Both accidents caused violent fire and explosions leading to death and serious injuries in non-industrial environments. The Mead accident occurred 1,000 feet from other buildings, according to reports. The Firestone explosion blew up a house as a pipe leaked gas that followed French drains into the Martinez’s basement.



Joey BunchJoey BunchMay 9, 20174min972

We told you Monday David Sirota was raising money to finance a public records request to get a look at oil-and-gas-loving legislators’ e-mails. (Update: He got the cash, next he gets the e-mails.)

Colorado Republicans shouldn’t think the high-profile liberal journalist is bluffing. He popped a story with co-writer Josh Keefe on the International Business Times’ website Monday night about a $40,000 donation from an oil man.

The largesse happened to land in a Colorado Republican super PAC’s coffers about the same time GOP senators killed an oil-and-gas bill in the statehouse.

The donation came from J. Landis Martin, chairman of Platte River Equity, which invests in fracking operations and equipment. Moreover, he’s a board member for Halliburton, a major player in Colorado’s oil-and-gas game.

On April 12, the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee killed House Bill 1256 on a party-line vote. Rep. Mike Foote’s bill would have clarified that the 1,000-foot setback for oil and gas operations is 1,000 feet from the campus property line, not the front door of the main building.

The Democrat from Lafayette argued in vain that the potential for an explosion was too great to keep places wells and other operations just beyond playgrounds and athletic fields.

On April 17 two men in Firestone were killed and others injured in the House explosion caused by a leaky gas line.

Let’s tap the breaks here. Senate Republicans don’t need a wooden nickel’s worth of encouragement to support oil and gas operations. Crude pumps in their political veins. I doubt Landis is the kind of guy who pays money he doesn’t have to, but rather wants to. At most, it was like tipping a good waiter.

And to his journalistic credit, Sirota’s article draws a bright line between what he knows and what seems suspicious.

He also took his questions directly to the person he was raising questions about:

Martin told IBT the donation was unrelated to the setback bill, which would have clarified that the 1,000 foot limit between schools and new oil and gas wells started at the edge of school property, not at school buildings themselves.

“I was totally unaware of that legislation,” Martin said. “I’ve never had any interest really in any Colorado legislation. Most of my businesses are outside of Colorado.”

When asked why he made the donation if he had no interest in Colorado politics, Martin replied: “I’m supportive of all Republican causes.” He also denied his political contribution had any connection to oil and gas interests.