Elections

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Seven initiative petitions could make it on the ballot this fall

Posted By on Wed, Aug 8, 2018 at 5:26 PM

PUBLIC DOMAIN PICTURES
  • Public Domain Pictures

Seven initiative petitions were turned in on time for a chance at the November ballot in Colorado, the Secretary of State's Office announced Aug. 6.

Initiative backers had to gather at least 98,492 signatures, or 5 percent of the total votes cast for all candidates for secretary of state in the 2014 general election.

Over the next 30 days, the Secretary of State's Office will review the petitions to ensure they meet state standards. Those that do will go to voters Nov. 6.

The seven petitions include:

Initiative 97 (statute change): Setback requirement for oil and gas development

"All new oil and gas development not on federal land must be located at least [2,500] feet from an occupied structure or vulnerable area."

The initiative's backer, Colorado Rising, says signature gatherers faced intimidation and harassment. But its problems didn't stop there. One of the initiative's signature-gathering firms took 15,000 signatures out of state three weeks before the deadline, and a second firm was paid off to stop collecting signatures, Colorado Rising says. Despite those setbacks (pun unintended), 171,000 signatures were submitted by deadline.

Initiative 126 (statute change): Payday loans

"Lower the maximum authorized finance charge for payday loans to an annual percentage rate of [36] percent." Currently, the maximum charges are $20 for the first $300 loaned, 7.5 percent of any amount over $300, and a 45 percent interest rate.

The Denver Post reports that initiative backers gathered nearly 190,000 signatures.

Initiative 153 (statute change): Transportation funding

Increase state sales tax from 2.91 percent to 3.52 percent, in order to fund up to $6 billion in bonds for construction and maintenance of roads, bridges and highways. The initiative requires "45% of the new revenue to fund state transportation safety, maintenance, and congestion-related projects; 40% to fund municipal and county transportation projects; and 15% to fund multimodal transportation projects, including bike, pedestrian, and transit infrastructure."

Organizers collected about 198,000 signatures, the Post reports.

Initiative 167 (statute change): Authorize bonds for transportation projects

Use existing state revenues to purchase $3.5 billion in bonds for road and bridge construction and improvements. Mayor John Suthers, who opposes Initiative 153, has been a vocal supporter of this initiative, titled "Fix Our Damn Roads," which does not include a tax increase.

Backers turned in more than 150,000 signatures, according to the Post.

Initiative 173 (constitutional amendment): Campaign contributions

This "anti-Jared Polis" measure limits candidates' ability to fund their own campaigns: If a candidate "directs more than [$1 million] to support his or her election, then all candidates in the same election shall be entitled to accept aggregate contributions for a primary and general election at five times the [normally allowed] rate."

The Post reports that backers gathered 212,000 signatures.

Initiative 108 (constitutional amendment): Just compensation for reduction in fair market value by government law or regulation

Requires the government to pay compensation to private property owners when new laws or regulations reduce a property's fair market value. This is a response to Initiative 97, which could reduce the value of property that, per the initiative's requirements, could no longer be used for oil and gas development.

Organizers collected 209,000 signatures, the Post reports.

Initiative 93 (constitutional amendment): Funding for public schools

Increase state taxes by $1.6 billion to "improve, support and enhance" preschool through high school "programs, resources and opportunities." The money will come from an incremental income tax increase for people making more than $150,000 (using four tax brackets, starting at 0.37 percent and increasing to 3.62 percent for income over $500,000); and a corporate tax rate increase of 1.37 percent.

Backers turned in about 179,000 signatures, the Post reports.
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Friday, July 6, 2018

El Paso County leads state in number of rejected primary ballots

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 4:00 PM

SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
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Colorado's first semi-open primary election was confusing for unaffiliated voters — many of whom didn't get the memo that they could only turn in one ballot — but it wasn't quite as confusing as some had feared.

"Statewide, 6,914 ballots were rejected because unaffiliated voters — who received both a Republican and a Democratic ballot in the mail — mistakenly returned both, according to the Secretary of State's office. That's a rejection rate of 2.4 percent."

El Paso County voters didn't do quite as well, according to numbers provided by Kristi Alfonso, spokesperson for the Clerk and Recorder's Office. With 1,516 ballots disqualified, the county had the highest rejection rate in the state, barring a few sparsely populated rural counties: 4.8 percent.

But that's still better than what some opponents of Proposition 108, which allowed unaffiliated voters to have a say in primaries, had anticipated. One argument against the proposition, cited by the Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly in its 2016 State Ballot Information Booklet, was that 7 percent of ballots likely would be rejected due to unaffiliated voters returning both ballots.

In a July 6 statement, Secretary of State Wayne Williams said he was "incredibly proud" of efforts by county workers and media organizations that helped educate unaffiliated voters about the right way to vote.

"Our office will be working with the clerks to improve the percentage in our next primary election, in 2020," he added.

This year, a record-breaking 141,732 ballots were cast in El Paso County, including 34,027 by unaffiliated voters, 34,664 by Democrats and 73,034 by Republicans. That amounts to a turnout rate of over 36 percent. In the 2016 primary, only 86,000 voters returned ballots, Alfonso said in an email.

Around 58 percent of unaffiliated county residents returned Republican ballots, while 42 percent returned Democratic ballots.

Feeling competitive? Here's a look at the rejection rates for people voting more than once in the state's 10 largest counties:

El Paso County: 4.8 percent (1,611 ballots rejected)
City and County of Denver: 2.6 percent (942 rejected)
Arapahoe County: 2.7 percent (802 rejected)
Jefferson County: 1.9 percent (744 rejected)
Adams County: 0.4 percent (79 rejected)
Larimer County: 1.7 percent (365 rejected)
Boulder County: 0.9 percent (203 rejected)
Douglas County: 1.4 percent (247 rejected)
Weld County: 2.7 percent (304 rejected)
Pueblo County: 2.0 percent (116 rejected)

And here's a recap of the election results: Incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn won the District 5 Republican primary with 52 percent of the vote; Jared Polis won the Democratic governor's primary with 39 percent of the county vote and 44 percent of the statewide vote; Walker Stapleton took the Republican nomination for governor with nearly 48 percent of the county and statewide vote; Marc Snyder won the state's District 18 Democratic primary with 55 percent of the vote; and Sheriff Bill Elder won the Republican primary with 58 percent. In the biggest nail-biter, Democratic attorney general candidate Phil Weiser lost to Joe Salazar by a margin of 5.4 percent in El Paso County, but won the statewide race by less than 1 percent.
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Friday, June 22, 2018

El Paso county ballot dropbox and polling locations for the primary elections

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 1:00 AM

It's too late to mail your ballot. Good news is you'll get a sticker when you visit a dropbox in person. - SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Shutterstock.com
  • It's too late to mail your ballot. Good news is you'll get a sticker when you visit a dropbox in person.
June 20 was the last day for voters to mail in their 2018 Colorado primary ballots, so don't even try. Any voters that missed the mail-in deadline will need to submit their ballots in person at a polling location or at one of various drop-boxes (ballots received after 7 p.m. on June 26 will not be counted).

The Google Map below shows all the polling locations and drop-boxes in El Paso county. Locations marked with a person icon offer in-person voting and registration, and vehicle icons mark drive-up dropbox locations. Green markers indicate dropbox-only locations, and locations marked red are only open on Monday, June 25, and Tuesday, June 26 (Election Day).

All the drop-boxes are accessible 24/7 with the exceptions of The Independence Center on S. Tejon St. and the County Clerk's Office on Fort Carson. Click on a location to see hours of operation and directions.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The best of the worst campaign ads: 2018 primary edition

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 at 4:06 PM

Doug Lamborn has a very sad ad. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Doug Lamborn has a very sad ad.

The June 26 primary election is just right around the corner, and soon the smorgasbord of candidates will be whittled down to a single candidate for each major party in contested races. The losing candidates will disappear, taking their terrible campaign ads along with them. So we thought we'd do a round-up of the best of the worst campaign ads heading into the state's first open primary season. Remember, this is film criticism, and isn't intended as a voter's guide, or even a commentary on the candidates' platforms.

So, without further ado:

The four best worst ads of the 2018 primary season:

Gold: The one where Levi Tilleman pepper spray's himself

Levi Tilleman, a Democrat running in the 6th Congressional District in central Colorado, thought President Donald Trump's idea of giving guns to teachers was ludicrous, so he came up with a better one: Give them pepper spray. And just to make sure it would work, Tilleman decided to test it out — on himself.

The most unfortunate thing about this ad may be that there isn't enough time left before the primaries for a Republican to one-up Tilleman.


Silver: Meet Darryl Glenn, he's one tough mudder

El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn wants you to know that he’ll ride waterslides, climb rope nets and crawl through mud to the most obnoxious of soundtracks if that’s what it takes to represent Colorado’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Colorado Springs. The Republican's new campaign ad, shot GoPro-style, features him doing just that.

Ironically titled, "Meet Darryl Glenn," you never even see the candidate's face in the entire video, or learn a single thing about him besides that he's an "unapologetic Christian constitutional conservative, pro-life, Second Amendment-loving veteran." In the video, Glenn voices his Republican battlecry overlapped with the thumping baseline and catchy chorus of "Changes" by Faul, Wad Ad, Pnau. It makes for a full frontal assault on the human auditory faculties, coupled with what look like outtakes clips for a Tough Mudder ad haphazardly thrown together.

It's a step up in incoherence and only a slight step down in machismo from the Billy Blanks-Bowflex-throwback-style ad Glenn ran last campaign season, featuring himself doing pull-ups in a red, skin-tight Under Armour shirt and swinging his big, black kettlebells all over the screen, taking a few breaths between sets to trash talk his then-opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. Glenn lost that race. This time, he's one of many candidates challenging incumbent Congressman Doug Lamborn.


Bronze: Doug Lamborn's very sad ad

Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn, running to retain his seat in Congressional District 5, may want to make some changes to his PR team, because this might be the laziest ad of the primary season. First of all, Lamborn seems to get it backwards: You're supposed to tell us what your opponents did, then insert the clip of President Donald Trump saying it's sad. Second, don't use the same clip of Trump telling us it's sad over and over again. Obviously, Lamborn is using Trump's words out of context, but if he at least changed up the clips it might slip past the dumber viewers. The same clip three times in a row? That's just insulting.

You're an establishment politician, Doug, and seeing you lower yourself to this level is, well, it's very sad.


First runner-up: Stephany Rose Spaulding says a lot about nothing

Stephany Rose Spaulding's sincere tone and adopt-this-abused-puppy background music make this ad appear quite serious on the surface, and she's touching on serious issues, but listen closely and you'll realize the underdog Democrat in a red district doesn't really say anything of substance about Congressional District 5.

We know "everyone deserves a seat at the table," and "everyone deserves representation." But who's seat is it? Whose lives are on the line? Which communities are being impacted right now? How are they being impacted? And what are you going to do about it? We don't get those answers. And respecting diversity and inclusivity sound really great, but what does that mean? How does that translate into policy?


Honorable Mentions:

The McFeminism Award: Saira Rao, Democratic candidate for Congressional District 1 in Denver
This ad had so much potential. Everything about it was excellent, that is except one word: "Vagenda." That one word as all it took to leave a strange taste in the viewers' mouths and completely distract them from everything else.



Most Annoying Voice: Walker Stapleton
If there is one thing President Trump is really good at, it's giving nicknames to his opponents — Lying Ted, Crooked Hillary, etc. If Trump ever had to run in a primary against Republican gubernatorial candidate and Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton, I have no doubt that after the first debate he would be forever dubbed "Squawker Stapleton."



Most Boring: Polly Lawrence, Republican candidate for Colorado Treasurer

Polly Lawrence wants to tell you about the Bloomberg Terminal. The Bloomberg Terminal is in the Treasurer's office and is used to track financial... yawn.

Why do we care about the Bloomberg Terminal? What the hell does it have to do with voters? Why are we wasting readers' time with this?

I don't know. In fact, don't watch it.



Best Republican Gun Porn: Bill Rhea, Doug Robinson, and Owen Hill

Nothing like gunshots to wake you back up. Talk is cheap; shut up and sling lead!




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Friday, June 15, 2018

Sheriff Elder demands Angley campaign ads pulled, TV stations refuse

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 10:40 AM

Images are from a television ad aired by the Mike Angley campaign.
  • Images are from a television ad aired by the Mike Angley campaign.
In TV ads aired on local stations, El Paso County Sheriff candidate Mike Angley accuses Sheriff Bill Elder of cronyism, corruption and not being conservative enough.
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Elder contends those things aren't true, so hired a lawyer to write letters to the stations asking that the ads be taken down, as first reported by KRDO.

In the letter, attorney Erin Jensen writes, "We respectfully request that your media outlet cease airing the latest Mike Angley ("Mr. Angley") for Sheriff television advertisement (the "Ad"). We recognize that it [sic] not your station's obligation to fact check political ads. However, this [is] a unique situation wherein Mr. Angley's Ad itself demonstrates that some of the statements contained in the Ad are without factual support."

Read the letter here:
But the Communications Act and FCC rules prohibit media from censoring political ads, so none of the stations obliged Elder's request, KRDO reported.

Angley is trying to unseat Elder by winning the Republican nomination in the June 26 primary election. In 2014, Elder was the only sheriff's candidate to qualify for the primary ballot.

angleytvad2.png
A retired Air Force colonel who worked for years in the Office of Special Investigations, Angley told KRDO his campaign stands behind the ads and can prove every allegation made in them.

As a footnote, Jensen is also representing two of Elder's employees, Bill and Janet Huffor, who recently filed a demand letter with the county. They're seeking $400,000 in damages for a misstep by the county in releasing job applications to the Independent containing their addresses and Social Security numbers.

The Indy notified the county immediately of the exposed information and destroyed the documents. The county has denied the claim.

Jensen hasn't yet returned the Indy's phone call about taking on the sheriff as a client while his other clients are contemplating legal action against the county. (The Sheriff's Office is part of county government.)

Angley says Jensen's representing both Elder and the Huffors "seems to be a conflict."

"Something’s not right about the Sheriff’s campaign lawyer representing two plaintiffs who are suing the same Sheriff…one of the plaintiffs also serving as his Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager," Angley tells the Indy in an email, referring to Janet Huffor.

Her husband, Bill, is a sheriff's lieutenant who the Indy reported made comments to delegates at the March 26 Republican assembly that those delegates interpreted as harassment.

Bill Huffor's pay has increased by 52 percent since Elder took office, increasing from $64,334 in 2014 before Elder became sheriff to $97,604.

The Independent has endorsed Angley.
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CD5 race turns ugly with "dumb and dumber" flier

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 12:53 AM

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The race for the Republican nomination in the 5th Congressional District June 26 primary is heating up with State Sen. Owen Hill sending out fliers that needle two of his opponents as "counterfeit conservatives" and "swamp things."

Those labels, the fliers say, apply to El Paso County Commission President Darryl Glenn and U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, who's seeking his seventh term in office.

The "swamp things" flier is a four-pager with detailed allegations, which are foot-noted with sourcing in congressional records, campaign finance reports and news articles.

For example, the flier alleges Lamborn "perfectly times stock buy in NetApp — just one day before the firm is awarded a major Department of Defense contract." The source is Lamborn's periodic transaction report of Sept. 26, 2013, and USAspending.gov. The contract was for $680,021 for work at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. But Lamborn bought and sold NetApp stock throughout the year in 2013, according to opensecrets.org, activity that included 18 purchases and 22 sales, including one on Sept. 11 for a value ranging from $15,001 to $50,000. The contract was awarded on Sept. 12.

Another allegation states that "Glenn tried to pay himself $70,815 from his losing campaign in November 2016. But is forced to return the money." That footnote sources the information to the Federal Election Commission report by Committee to Elect Darryl Glenn for U.S. Senate in 2016. The records show that Glenn's campaign paid him $70,815 on Nov. 28, 2016, after the election, but the payment was returned to his campaign on Dec. 7, 2016.

The "counterfeit conservatives" flier also calls Glenn and Lamborn "dumb and dumber," and notes:

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• "Glenn voted to increase El Paso County's budget 42%," which is sourced with a footnote noting the county's 2018 budget. This one is hard to verify, because it's unclear what Hill is talking about. If one considers total funding for the county, the increase from 2011 when Glenn took office to 2018 was about 67 percent. But Glenn might not have voted for the budget every year. That time span also includes voter approval of the sheriff's sales tax in 2012, which this year is expected to generate more than $24 million.

• "Lamborn voted to balloon the National Debt by another $1 trillion dollars," which is sourced with a footnote citing GovTrack.us, U.S. House of Representatives, July 29, 2011, Vote on S627: 218-210, Lamborn vote: yes." This was a budget bill.

We asked both Glenn's and Lamborn's campaign for a comment.

We haven't heard from Lamborn, but Glenn tells us via email, "Here’s my official and only statement: As a brother in Christ, I would encourage Owen to seek wisdom from the Holy Spirit before he designs his marketing materials."

We also reached out to Hill for a comment and will circle back if and when we hear something.
Both fliers state, "Paid for by Owen Hill for Congress."

Hill's supporters challenged Lamborn's petition signatures through the courts this spring without success.

Other Republicans in the primary contest are former Green Mountain Falls Mayor Tyler Stevens and former Texas judge Bill Rhea. The Independent has endorsed Rhea.
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Friday, June 8, 2018

Unaffiliated voter numbers surge leading up to primaries

Posted By on Fri, Jun 8, 2018 at 11:38 AM

SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Shutterstock.com
Normally, the non-incumbent political party experiences a resurgence during the midterm elections, and with arguably the most unpopular Republican president in U.S. history occupying the White House, there's been much talk about the coming "blue wave" in 2018.

But in Colorado, according to the most recent voter registration data, that wave looks like a drop in the bucket compared the tsunami of unaffiliated voters flooding onto the rolls.

Since January, more than 40,000 voters registered without a party. By comparison, Democrats added just over 7,500 new voters since the new year began while Republicans lost almost 1,300.

At 38 percent, unaffiliated voters make up the largest and fastest-growing voting block in the state — registered Republicans and Democrats make up 29 and 30 percent, respectively.

(We used total numbers, including active, inactive and preregistered voters.)

Here's the raw data:
voter_data_table_jpg.png

All those unaffiliated voters should make the June 26 primary interesting, since the state's  primary elections are now open to unaffiliated voters. (Note: Unaffiliated voters will receive two ballots in the mail, one Democratic and one Republican, though only one ballot may be cast or both will be thrown away.)

The Indy released our 2018 primary election endorsements last week, for the short version, check out our handy voter cheat sheet below. Follow this link for more on how to vote in the 2018 primary election:

2018 Indy primary endorsements cheat sheet

Governor: (Democratic primary): Cary Kennedy

Congressional District 5: (Republican primary): Bill Rhea

Colorado House District 18: (Democratic primary): Marc Snyder

El Paso County Sheriff: (Republican primary): Mike Angley

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Nathan Larson, pedophile dad from Springs custody case, now running for Congress

Posted By on Fri, Jun 1, 2018 at 11:08 AM

COURTESY NATHAN LARSON
  • Courtesy Nathan Larson
Remember Nathan Larson?

Back in 2015, I reported on Larson's attempts to gain custody of his infant daughter after his ex-wife, a transgender man, completed suicide. The child's maternal grandparents were fighting for custody of the baby and gained it after Larson bowed out.
Of course, it's hard to imagine that Larson would have been given custody anyway. He's an admitted pedophile, and said that while he didn't think he would attempt to have sexual relations with his own daughter, he wasn't sure. And really, that's just the tip of iceberg with Larson, who believes pedophilia is a sexual orientation deserving of civil rights, admitted to raping his ex-wife and apparently thinks Adolf Hitler did some good things.
Anyway, it turns out that Larson is now running for Congress in Virginia as an independent, and the media is having an absolute field day. Check out stories on Larson here and here and here and here. Plus, in case you're wondering how this could all be true, here's the Snopes.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Russians planted local "driving while black" case in Facebook ads

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2018 at 12:12 PM

Ryan Brown accused the CSPD of stopping him and his brother for "driving while black." - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Ryan Brown accused the CSPD of stopping him and his brother for "driving while black."
A local case of racial profiling was used by the Russians to sow division among Americans in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election, according to an extensive report by USA Today that looked at all 3,517 Facebook ads used by Russians.

From the USA Today story:
The Russian company charged with orchestrating a wide-ranging effort to meddle in the 2016 presidential election overwhelmingly focused its barrage of social media advertising on what is arguably America’s rawest political division: race.

The roughly 3,500 Facebook ads were created by the Russian-based Internet Research Agency, which is at the center of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s February indictment of 13 Russians and three companies seeking to influence the election.

While some ads focused on topics as banal as business promotion or Pokémon, the company consistently promoted ads designed to inflame race-related tensions. Some dealt with race directly; others dealt with issues fraught with racial and religious baggage such as ads focused on protests over policing, the debate over a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and relationships with the Muslim community.

That case involved Ryan and Benjamin Brown, which got widespread attention in 2015 after Colorado Springs Police Officers pulled Ryan Brown from a vehicle after a stop made for unknown reasons. The city later settled a lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Colorado on the Browns' behalf. The city paid $212,000 and agreed to change some procedures.
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Monday, April 23, 2018

Lamborn does not qualify for the ballot, state supreme court rules

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 3:43 PM

Six-term U.S. Congressman Doug Lamborn may not be able to run for his seventh term after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that one of his signature gatherers is not a legal resident of the state and invalidated those petition signatures.

Without those signatures, Lamborn lacks the 1,000 valid signatures needed to make the ballot.

The Denver Post reports:

It’s unclear whether Lamborn will challenge the ruling, or whether he could return to the district court level to seek qualification of other signatures that were initially rejected by the secretary of state’s office. The court is allowed to apply a more lenient standard — known as substantial compliance — than the secretary’s office.

——- POST, April 11, 9:39 a.m. ——-
Walker Stapleton with his family. - STAPLETONFORCOLORADO.COM
  • stapletonforcolorado.com
  • Walker Stapleton with his family.
Various local media are reporting that a judge has allowed Doug Lamborn to stay on the primary ballot despite questions about the signature gatherers for his petitions.

The group of GOP voters that challenged the petitions plan to appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court.

——- ORIGINAL POST, April 10, 4:19 p.m. ——-
The fate of Congressman Doug Lamborn, seeking his seventh term a representative of the Fifth Congressional District, was hanging in the balance at an April 10 evidentiary hearing on a lawsuit. That suit alleged that the signature gatherers responsible for the petitions that qualified Lamborn for the Republican primary ballot were not residents of Colorado — and that therefore many of the signatures weren't valid.

That's a big problem for Lamborn, because he skipped the Fifth Congressional District assembly. If his petition signatures are invalidated he's out of the race.

Lamborn earlier released a statement saying he expected the suit to blow over soon.

9News reported that Walker Stapleton, Colorado treasurer and leading Republican candidate for governor, "filed paperwork in the court case to intervene and have the case against Lamborn dismissed. Why? Because he hired some of the same signature collectors being challenged in the Lamborn case."

So, here's the bombshell: Stapleton has reportedly asked the Colorado Secretary of State to remove his name from the primary ballot, saying that the signature gathering company in question, Colorado Springs-based firm Kennedy Enterprises, lied to him and collected fraudulent signatures. Stapleton now plans to seek a place on the primary ballot through the assembly process.

News Channel 13 reports that Lamborn's hearing is ongoing.

But one would expect that Stapleton's move won't help Lamborn's position.

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

UPDATE: Dobson endorses Roy Moore for Senate

Posted By on Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 11:36 AM

Dr. James Dobson - WIKIMEDIA
  • WikiMedia
  • Dr. James Dobson
UPDATE: This blog has been updated to reflect a correction about the timing of Dobson's endorsement ad. It was, in fact, released prior to the allegations of sexual misconduct against the Senate candidate.

—— ORIGINAL POST: 11:36 A.M., THURSDAY, NOV. 30 ——

There's an important election coming up in Alabama. Voters in the predominantly Republican state will choose a successor to U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by former Sen. Jeff Sessions upon his confirmation as Attorney General.

The Republican candidate, endorsed by President Donald Trump, is Roy Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who was twice removed from that post for defying court orders. (Once for refusing to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the judicial building and once for continuing to enforce the state's ban on same-sex marriage that had been deemed unconstitutional.)

Roy Moore - WIKIMEDIA
  • WikiMedia
  • Roy Moore
Moore is a staunch evangelical who believes Christianity should be enmeshed with public policy. That includes, according to the website of his nonprofit, Foundation for Moral Law, opposition to: women's right to choose abortion, any civil rights or protections for LGBTQ people, and science curricula including evolution in public schools.

That's probably what endears him to Dr. James Dobson, founder of the socially conservative church, Focus on the Family. Dobson is apparently so fond of Moore that he released an ad for television and radio endorsing him for Senate. Dobson told listeners in Alabama that Moore is a "man of proven character and integrity."



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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Election results start pouring in, voters friendly to gov asks

Posted By , and on Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 7:32 PM

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Election Day has rolled around again, and the results are pouring in. (See all the results here.) Let's look first at turnout. Odd year elections tend to attract a lot fewer voters to the polls, despite the relative ease of voting in Colorado, where all registered voters receive a mail ballot, and voters can register and vote any time they want at a voting center of their choice during the lead up the election. Despite that, in 2015, the last off-year election, turn out in El Paso County was a dismal 41.69 percent of registered voters.

This year was worse, with a 38.7percent turnout. Those that chose to vote were generally friendly to the asks of local government. Voters approved stormwater fees in Colorado Springs, allowed El Paso County to keep money over the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights cap, and finally gave Colorado Springs School District 11 the funding it says it desperately needs. Voters also allowed funding for the I-25 gap to be added to projects list for the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority. Manitou Springs voters, meanwhile, were extremely unfriendly to an ask for tax dollars to fund an emergency operations center and firefighter/police training site. Manitou voters also rejected the reelection bid of their mayor, Nicole Nicoletta, decisively choosing challenger Ken Jaray. Let's take a closer look at some of the big issues, with the vast majority of ballots now counted.

City Council President Richard Skorman announces 2A is winning at an election party at Phantom Canyon, crediting Mayor John Suthers for bringing in the win. Skorman told the crowd, "I can't believe we're here tonight and we're celebrating." - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • City Council President Richard Skorman announces 2A is winning at an election party at Phantom Canyon, crediting Mayor John Suthers for bringing in the win. Skorman told the crowd, "I can't believe we're here tonight and we're celebrating."

Issue 2A - Popular Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers asked voters to approve these fees to fund stormwater infrastructure in Colorado Springs, on the heels of the successful passage of 2015's 2C, a sales tax to fund road work. 2A will raise about $17 million a year for stormwater by charging all households $5 per month and commercial properties $30 per acre per month. Properties larger than 5 acres will be assessed a fee based on impermeable surface. The money coming from fees will free up general fund dollars for pressing needs, such as hiring more police officer, Suthers says. Ignoring stormwater wasn't a possibility, regardless of the outcome of the vote: The city has promised Pueblo that it will spend $23 million a year for 20 years on stormwater and its still battling a lawsuit from the EPA alleging that the city violated the Clean Water Act.
Indy endorsement: YES
Vote breakdown: 53.69 percent YES, 46.31 percent NO

Mayor John Suthers spoke to the crowd at the 2A party, saying: "I can't express how proud I am of the citizens of Colorado Springs. This is really a watershed moment for our city. Colorado Springs is taking its place in the great cities of America. Over the last 25 years, our city dug a pretty big hole for itself: a $1 billion infrastructure deficit. We're now building a city that matches our scenery." - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Mayor John Suthers spoke to the crowd at the 2A party, saying: "I can't express how proud I am of the citizens of Colorado Springs. This is really a watershed moment for our city. Colorado Springs is taking its place in the great cities of America. Over the last 25 years, our city dug a pretty big hole for itself: a $1 billion infrastructure deficit. We're now building a city that matches our scenery."

Issue 1A - El Paso County asked voters to keep $14.5 million in revenue collected over the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights limit in 2016 and for permission to use that extra money to reset its base, starting with the 2017 budget. In other words, 1A will let the county collect and keep more tax revenue this year and in all future years. (Confused? Trying reading the explanation in our endorsements.)
The county asked property owners to forgo a refund (about $40 for a typical home worth $250,000) this year, and forgo future refunds or reductions in taxes that might have resulted from TABOR's so-called ratchet-down effect on local budgets.
The county promised that if 1A passed it would spend up to $12 million for a local match for the Interstate 25 gap project and other road projects, with the rest of the 2016 money going to disaster recovery projects and parks, trails and open space.
Indy endorsement: YES
Vote breakdown: 67.2 percent YES, 32.8 percent NO

County Commissioners  Stan VanderWerf (left) and Mark Waller celebrate. VanderWerf  said he is very grateful to the citizens of the county for  approving 1A. "I think it demonstrates a growing trust of government," he said. "And I pledge these funds will be consumed in a way expressed on the ballot." VanderWerf said the county can now repair roads and bridges deferred since the recession. He thinks voters' friendliness to taxes and fees this year is due to an improving economy. - Waller said that he thought everyone put good campaigns together, but also that local government has built trust by doing what it says it will and spending money wisely. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • County Commissioners Stan VanderWerf (left) and Mark Waller celebrate. VanderWerf said he is very grateful to the citizens of the county for approving 1A. "I think it demonstrates a growing trust of government," he said. "And I pledge these funds will be consumed in a way expressed on the ballot." VanderWerf said the county can now repair roads and bridges deferred since the recession. He thinks voters' friendliness to taxes and fees this year is due to an improving economy.Waller said that he thought everyone put good campaigns together, but also that local government has built trust by doing what it says it will and spending money wisely.

• Issue 5B -
 In 2004, voters in Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, El Paso County and the town of Green Mountain Falls voted to establish the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, funded by a 1 cent sales tax. Of the money collected, 44 percent was a permanent tax, with 35 percent going to road maintenance and 10 percent going to the bus system. The other 55 percent of the tax, which cut off at the end of 2014, was to complete a list of road and bridge projects, with the highest-priority projects coming first.
Voters liked the system enough that in 2012, nearly 80 percent chose to renew the capital portion of the tax through 2024, with a new set of projects. That tax has collected more than was projected, leading to a "surplus." Supporters of 5B asked voters to permit the PPRTA to spend up to $10 million of that "surplus," split over the next two years, to chip in the largest share of a local match to the state government for the widening of the 18-mile stretch of Interstate 25 from Monument to Castle Rock, which could cost up to $600 million.
Indy endorsement: YES
Vote breakdown: 66.1 percent YES, 33.9 percent NO

OK, so let's look at a few other biggies:
Shawn Gullixson (center), who was just elected to the D-11 school board, says he's most excited that 3E passed. The step he's most eager to take now: "Take care of our teachers. As a parent, I want to put the best teachers in front of our students."  Gullixson says the campaign for 2E engaged families and voters and started healthy conversations in D-11. - NAT STEIN
  • Nat Stein
  • Shawn Gullixson (center), who was just elected to the D-11 school board, says he's most excited that 3E passed. The step he's most eager to take now: "Take care of our teachers. As a parent, I want to put the best teachers in front of our students." Gullixson says the campaign for 2E engaged families and voters and started healthy conversations in D-11.

Colorado Springs School District 11 Board of Education: Four of seven seats on the board of the city's largest school district were up for grabs. One seat was decided early. Mary Coleman, the manager of government affairs for Centura Health and a mover and shaker in the community, was running to complete the last two years of her predecessor's term. She had no challengers.
There were four candidates for three seats with four-year terms: incumbent Jim Mason, appointed incumbent Shawn Gullixson, community activist Julie Ott, and Morgan Chavez, who works at Progressive Insurance.
Indy endorsement: MASON, GULLIXSON, OTT
Vote brakdown: MASON (28.26 percent), GULLIXSON (23.91 percent), OTT (32.27 percent), CHAVEZ (15.56 percent)
D-11 school board winners (from left to right): Jim Mason, Julie Ott and Mary Coleman. Ott, who is new to the board, said she's been attending school board meetings and is  "ready to hit the ground running." - NAT STEIN
  • Nat Stein
  • D-11 school board winners (from left to right): Jim Mason, Julie Ott and Mary Coleman. Ott, who is new to the board, said she's been attending school board meetings and is "ready to hit the ground running."
Sarah Jack and Lauren Hug. Jack, a Mitchell High grad who worked to pass the last D-11 funding increase in 2000, cried as she said, "Everyone worked together, it was really a team effort." - NAT STEIN
  • Nat Stein
  • Sarah Jack and Lauren Hug. Jack, a Mitchell High grad who worked to pass the last D-11 funding increase in 2000, cried as she said, "Everyone worked together, it was really a team effort."

D-11 3E- D-11 asked voters for a hike in property taxes that will generate $42 million a year, and include no debt. The district says it will pay off existing debt by around 2023, meaning 3E will go from costing the owner of a $200,000 house in D-11 approximately an extra $14 a month in 2018 to around an extra $6 a month in 2023.
D-11 says the money will be used for capital repairs and upgrades to schools, increased teacher pay, and upgraded technology, among other needs.
Indy endorsement: YES
Vote breakdown: 57.31 percent YES, 42.69 percent NO

Manitou Springs Mayor - Incumbent Nicole Nicoletta, who has served two years in office, faced challenger Ken Jaray, an attorney and long-time community activist and volunteer.
Indy endorsement: NICOLETTA
Vote breakdown: NICOLETTA (35.38 percent), JARAY (64.62 percent)

Manitou Springs 2B - 2B asked to increase property taxes by up to $400,000 annually to pay $3.9 million (but with repayment costs up to $7 million) to build an emergency operations center for city government/training center for police and fire departments.
Indy endorsement: YES
Vote breakdown: 24.16 percent YES, 75.84 percent NO

Manitou Springs 2C - 2C asked to give the city the right to provide high-speed internet services or contract with a private provider.
Indy endorsement: YES
Vote breakdown: 84.31 percent YES, 15.69 percent NO


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