U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman welcomes former state Rep. Ruth Prendergast, R-Denver, as she approaches the grills at a fundraising barbecue on Aug. 17 in Greenwood Village. Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

8/22/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The skies smiled on the more than 400 supporters of U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman on Sunday as they gathered for what has become an annual tradition, a fundraising barbecue in the spacious Greenwood Village backyard of James and Joy Hoffman, who chairs the Arapahoe County Republican Party.

8/22/2014
By Miller Hudson
The Colorado Statesman

PUEBLO — It wasn’t exactly a political convention per se, but from the looks of this very large get together on Aug. 22, it could have been. Several hundred current, former and potentially future elected officials, lobbyists and well-connected (and hungry) guests packed into a large white tent at this annual event signifying the official start-up of the summer’s 11-day showcase for the agricultural engines that drive the state’s rural economy — the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.

8/22/2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Starring Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell; directed by
Matt Reeves

This week’s review is written by Caesar, an ape critic who can amazingly utter rudimentary English (as opposed to French, or Portuguese, or Swahili) with some helpful translation:

8/15/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The contenders in what could be the most closely fought congressional race in the country clashed over immigration, federal spending and campaign finance at their first debate on Thursday morning, but it was one candidate’s punt and the other’s fumble that drew the sharpest barbs from both sides.

8/15/2014

If you glanced up at the Colorado State Capitol this week, you might have seen expert gilders rappelling from the lantern atop the historic structure to complete a final touch-up on the iconic gold-leafed dome. Contractors have almost completed the final touches of the nearly three year long, $17 million dome restoration project.

8/15/2014
By Morgan Smith
GUEST COLUMNIST

“I want to tell this next generation that the philosophers were right; that St. Francis, Buddha, Muhammad, Maimonides – all spoke the truth when they said the way to serve yourself is to serve others. And that Aristotle was right, before them, when he said that the only way to assure your happiness is to give.”

U.S. District Judge John L. Kane
50th Class Reunion
University of Denver College of Law
May 22, 2010

8/8/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

The last minute compromise announced on Aug. 4 by Gov. John Hickenlooper that resulted in the withdrawal of four controversial ballot initiatives related to oil and gas drilling was contingent upon a series of domino type actions among the key players in Colorado’s fracking battle. By the end of the week, all had been accomplished — to various degrees of satisfaction — and Coloradans will be spared the assaults and counter assaults in what was potentially a $20 million election year all-out war.

STEPHENS: WAR ON WOMEN STRATEGY WON’T WORK THIS TIME
8/8/2014
By Amy Stephens
GUEST COLUMNIST

Democrats are wondering why it’s not working this time. In 2010, the War on Women strategy helped U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet edge out Republican Ken Buck in a close election. In 2012, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney found his campaign on the losing end of the WOW attack. However, in 2014, the ploy isn’t working so well for incumbent Sen. Mark Udall in a tight election against challenger Cory Gardner.

8/1/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Supporters and opponents gathered in Denver this week to air their concerns as the Environmental Protection Agency held hearings on proposed regulations to reduce carbon emissions in existing power plants.

DODGE: WAS RYAN CALL THE RINGMASTER, OR THE CLEAN-UP GUY?
8/1/2014
By Cliff Dodge
The Colorado Statesman

A funny thing happened on the way to the Republican primary election this year. Tom Tancredo, Scott Gessler and Mike Kopp were working hard to persuade voters that beating John Hickenlooper was their primary objective. Tom Tancredo, in the month of March, was gathering signatures to have his name placed on the primary ballot. Both Scott and Mike decided to duke it out at the Republican State Assembly.

SMITH: THE U.S. HAS AN OBLIGATION TO HELP
8/1/2014
By Morgan Smith
Contributing Columnist

Governor Rick Perry orders 1,000 National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border. President Obama urges the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to focus on their “shared responsibility” for the influx of migrant children from their countries. But where are Governor Perry’s troops going to go and what are they going to do? And what responsibility does President Obama think we have for this crisis?

8/1/2014

Dear Editor,

I was disappointed to see a lack in the usual thoroughness of Statesman reporting in one of last week’s articles, “Coalition rallies to defeat personhood amendment” by Ashley Chase Sinclair. It was an article about opposition to the amendment, so logic would ask, “what does the amendment say?”

The wording of the amendment was not included in the article, which is an important, objective omission.

From the Secretary of State’s website:

The title as designated and fixed by the Board is as follows:

8/1/2014

Dear Editor,

Ashley Chase Sinclair’s July 25 coverage of the pro-abortion rally against Amendment 67 sadly lacked a single quote from Brady Amendment proponents who were there. ‘A Voice for Brady’ advocates distributed materials questioning the moral standing of child-killing profiteers, who oppose this human rights measure, crafted to bring justice to pre-born children who become victims of criminal acts.

8/1/2014

Boyhood
Starring Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater; directed by Richard Linklater

Lucy
Starring Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, Amr Waked; directed by Luc Besson

The reflective evolutionary timeline of Boyhood and Lucy:

7/25/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the Republican Governors Association is throwing its full weight behind Colorado GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez during a visit to the state this week, but he also stood by comments he made in April disparaging Colorado’s “quality of life” in the wake of marijuana legalization.

7/25/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin rallied the faithful on July 19 at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver with a call for Republicans to find the courage to impeach President Barack Obama, termed a “lawless, imperial president” by the one-time GOP vice presidential candidate.

7/25/2014
By Ashley Chase Sinclair
The Colorado Statesman

A broad-based coalition opposing Amendment 67 kicked off its statewide campaign this week, hopng that Colorado voters will once again defeat the controversial ballot measure.

Opponents of the amendment view it as another attempt to ban all abortions in Colorado, including in cases of rape and incest and when the health of a woman is at risk.

7/25/2014

Life Itself

A documentary about the life, and death, of film critic Roger Ebert; directed by Steve James (Hoop Dreams).

7/18/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday morning ended months of anticipation and anxiety over a possible special session to address oil and gas regulation in the face of looming ballot initiatives, announcing that he was unable to strike a grand bargain.

The Democratic governor and former geologist had hoped to stave off a series of ballot proposals by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a fellow Democrat from CD 2, that aim to expand regulations over oil and gas development.

7/18/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Republicans are being increasingly attacked by Latino leaders and Democrats over a failure to push immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, something they feel could come back to haunt the party in the November elections.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is the latest of local Colorado Republicans to face criticism following controversial remarks he made over the Fourth of July weekend in a radio interview.

7/18/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Two former state legislators submitted signatures on Monday for a ballot initiative that proponents believe would raise millions of dollars for K-12 education by expanding casino gambling to racetracks.

But with millions of dollars already pouring into the race, opponents — largely made up of current Colorado casino owners — are alleging an ulterior motive by a Rhode Island-based casino to hijack the education issue in a selfish attempt to expand operations.

7/18/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Two of the nation’s leading experts on counterterrorism abroad spoke in Denver on Tuesday at a time when international tensions are flaring over an Israeli ground offensive in the Gaza Strip and extremists continue to occupy large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

7/11/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

President Barack Obama boasted about the nation’s economic recovery since he took office and slammed congressional Republicans for blocking steps that used to be uncontroversial during a speech to several hundred invited guests at Denver’s Cheesman Park on Wednesday morning.

“Despite what you may hear, there is no doubt we are making progress,” Obama told the cheering crowd. “By almost every measure, we are better off than when I took office.”

7/11/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Opponents of proposed ballot initiatives that aim to give local governments more control over oil and gas regulation presented a campaign finance complaint before an administrative-law judge on Wednesday.

7/11/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

A campaign to restructure the state legislature with the aim of giving rural Colorado more of a voice first suspended its efforts after a lackluster response, but then days later announced that it was forging ahead.

7/11/2014

Dear Editor,

The letter by Eric Fried (of Fort Collins) in The Colorado Statesman issue of July 4, utterly lacks common sense support for the letter writer’s rant against the exceptionally sensible views recently expressed by Jan Heron in The Statesman.

I am a faithful reader of decades of The Statesman. Why publish such nonsense as Fried’s radically one-sided letter puzzles me.

7/4/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez on Tuesday named Douglas County Commissioner Jill Repella as his running mate and the team set out the next day along with his three former primary foes on a “unity tour” of the Front Range.

“Honestly, friends, I think this is the strongest Republican ticket that we’ve seen in over a decade,” state GOP Chairman Ryan Call told a packed Republican campaign office in Lakewood on Wednesday afternoon, introducing Beauprez and Repella on the tour’s fourth stop of the day.

7/4/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday affirmed the remaining proposed ballot titles pushed by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis that attempt to offer local jurisdictions the power to regulate oil and gas activity, including banning hydraulic fracturing and increasing setbacks.

The high court’s ruling came just days after citizens in Loveland rejected a ballot question that would have imposed a two-year moratorium on so-called “fracking.” It remains to be seen whether the failed time-out in Loveland foreshadows similar defeat of statewide questions.

7/4/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Former U.S. Sen. Tim Wirth welcomed guests and honorees to the 15th Annual Wirth Chair Sustainability Awards Luncheon on June 16 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Denver. The awards luncheon was sponsored by the University of Colorado chair in Environmental and Community Development Policy established in 1993 to honor Wirth.

Mark Safty, who is the current occupant of the Wirth chair, honored individuals, organizations and entire industries for their achievements helping balance economic, environmental and social welfare objectives, which are the stated purposes of the chair.

7/4/2014

Citizen Koch

A documentary about the influence of the Koch brothers’ money on politics during the emergence of the tea party movement with special attention on the Citizens United decision and the labor union dispute in Wisconsin under Governor Scott Walker; directed by Carl Deal and Tia Lessin.

6/27/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Colorado Republicans Tuesday picked buffalo rancher and former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez from a crowded field to run against Gov. John Hickenlooper in the Democrat’s bid for a second term this fall.

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo ran a close second in the primary, ahead of Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former state Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp. With 94 percent of the vote reported at press time, Beauprez had 30.23 percent, leading Tancredo’s 26.71 percent, Gessler with 23.21 percent and Kopp at 19.85.

6/27/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Perhaps the biggest victory for conservative candidates challenging mainstream Republicans in the primary elections on Tuesday occurred in Jefferson County where a bitter and divisive push by pro-life and gun rights groups propelled their candidates to commanding wins.

In Senate District 19, Laura Woods defeated Lang Sias 55 percent to 45 percent, earning 6,700 votes to Sias’ 5,413. She now faces Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada, in the general election.

6/27/2014
By Miller Hudson
The Colorado Statesman

The 7 p.m. report from the Denver County Clerk placed Dr. Valentina Flores so far ahead of Taggart Hansen in the State Board of Education primary in District 1 that even her supporters at Democratic headquarters on Sherman Street were at a loss to explain the results election night. Her 55-45 lead would continue to swell throughout the evening until it reached 58.9 percent to her opponent’s 48.2 percent. The punditocracy had previously awarded the seat to Hansen, who enjoyed support from the Democrats for Education Reform and its well-heeled network of independent expenditure committees.

6/27/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The Clintons — former President Bill, former Secretary of State and U.S. Sen. Hillary and former First Daughter Chelsea — took Denver by storm this week as the Clinton Global Initiative America settled into town for three days of meetings.

6/27/2014

22 Jump Street
Starring Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens; directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

How to Train Your Dragon 2
Starring the voices of Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, Djimon Hounsou, America Ferrera; directed by Dean DeBlois

First, well duh, mention that these are in fact sequels. That’s right, when a movie becomes a hit, it must be replicated, which means that the writing about it must be replicated as well.

SMITH: NO MORE DEATHS
6/27/2014
By Morgan Smith
Contributing Columnist

Although our political leaders are completely paralyzed in terms of immigration reform, there are important local efforts taking place. Here are several examples that I recently observed in the states of Arizona and Sonora, Mex.

6/20/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

A couple hundred enthusiastic supporters — including U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and other statewide candidates — helped U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter formally kick off his bid for a fifth term in Congress on Saturday at the Democrat’s field offices in Wheat Ridge.

6/20/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

In the final week before the primary, all four Republican gubernatorial candidates chased mail ballots and all four pounced on Gov. John Hickenlooper after the Democrat apologized to sheriffs for his handling of incendiary gun legislation last year, but that’s where the similarities end.

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez unveiled a five-point plan designed to restore liberty to Coloradans as his campaign said internal polling shows him pulling away from the pack.

6/20/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

The leader of a free-market think tank is pushing a proposed ballot initiative that would require open meetings for school boards during collective bargaining or employment contract negotiations.

Jon Caldara, president of the libertarian-leaning Independence Institute, said the proposal is not meant to be political, despite the many political implications that come with collective bargaining agreements between unions and school boards.

HUDSON: WARNING TO INCUMBENTS OF ALL POLITICAL PERSUASIONS
6/20/2014
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

There is nothing quite as annoying for a rabid partisan as an obviously bright adversary working in the enemy camp. A considerable slice of partisan doctrine consists of adherence to the premise that the intellectual abilities of one’s opponents are inherently suspect. That’s why Eric Cantor presented such a problem for Congressional Democrats. He coupled feral intensity with a shrewd recognition of precisely when Democrats were off balance. He made pushing them to the curb with split lips and a rip in their trousers look easy.

6/20/2014

IS THERE A CANDIDATE FOR LG IN THE HOUSE?

[Updated June 25, 2014 to reflect House's interest in "interviewing for the job."]

If you started following the GOP gubernatorial primary candidates from the start of the year, you know there were a few other contenders early on besides the final four. Adams County GOP chairman Steve House was one of them.

6/13/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Legalized marijuana and Colorado’s pivotal swing-state status won’t be factors when the Republican National Committee designates the host city for its 2016 national convention, leading Republicans said during a three-day visit by the GOP’s site-selection committee this week. Instead, the 13-member body plans to make its recommendation based on venues, proximity of hotel rooms, transportation and security capabilities, said the group’s chairwoman.

6/13/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

The activities of the visiting members of the Republican site selection committee were ensconced in secrecy for much of their two-day visit to Denver, to the chagrin of local and national press who had experienced more access during the RNC’s first two trips to host contenders Cleveland and Kansas City a few days earlier.

6/13/2014

It was just a matter of hours before the GOP gubernatorial campaigns in the state went into spin mode, and in some cases damage control, after news broke Tuesday night that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., shockingly lost his primary election to a political neophyte who had virtually no name identification in that state and even fewer dollars in his campaign war chest. It was viewed by many as a blow to immigration reform in Congress, since Cantor had been at the forefront of the issue and considered more moderate on the subject than many of his House colleagues.

6/13/2014

Dear Editor,

Regarding the article in the June 6 issue, “Guv campaigns amp up as ballots drop,” the last line of this article, “Tancredo also won a coveted endorsement this week, gaining the backing of the El Paso County Tea Party,” caused me to ponder: what constitutes a Tea Party? The website for the El Paso County Tea Party is defunct and the Facebook page has not been touched in two years; there are no meetings or activities that I can discern. The board members have moved on to other organizations or out of state and some are supporting other candidates in the gubernatorial race.

6/6/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Secretary of State Scott Gessler took aim at two of his Republican gubernatorial primary rivals in a TV ad that began airing this week as Colorado voters began receiving ballots for the all-mail election.

And for the second reporting period in a row, Gessler raised more money than the other Republican candidates, although opposing campaigns point out that he only edged former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo by a nose and that former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez has nearly twice as much money in the bank after loaning himself $100,000.

6/6/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Kopp named former Pueblo City Councilwoman Vera Ortegon as his running mate on Friday, saying the Colombia-born microbiologist embodied what he called the “three C’s” — character, conservatism and competence.

“I like to call her the Colombian Hurricane,” Kopp said at a hotel in Denver as the candidates stood alongside Shannon and Anthony, their smiling spouses, and a room full of cheering supporters.

6/6/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff and one of the country’s top Democrats met in Aurora on Tuesday with students at the center of stalled federal immigration-reform proposals, putting the focus on a contentious issue in his run against U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman to represent Colorado’s 6th Congressional District.

The Romanoff and Coffman campaigns also sparred this week with videos blasting each other’s current and past positions on immigration.

6/6/2014

The Mizel Institute’s dinner to honor the recipient of its annual Community Enrichment Award was once again buzzing with politicos — elected officials, candidates, policymakers and other political stakeholders — but for a couple of hours on the evening of May 21 in the cavernous space at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, all the countering forces were united in congratulating William J. Hybl as this year’s honoree.

6/6/2014

Dear Editor,

Thank you for devoting space to two statewide judicial reform initiatives in the story “Let more citizens judge the judges?” in the May 30, 2014 issue.

Based on judicial discipline commission annual reports, the total percentage of all dismissals by the commission from 2003 to 2012 is actually 97 percent. The 89.5 percent figure that I used regards only those complaints that were dismissed without the commission even considering the merits.

5/30/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall said on Friday that he’s hopeful that negotiations currently under way will lead to legislation aimed at satisfying demands for more local control over oil and gas drilling in Colorado.

“I think we’re very close to a proposal that would answer most, if not all of the concerns that have been raised,” Udall said. “People want to find a solution.”

5/30/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

A local lawyer frustrated with the system in Colorado to retain judges and hold them accountable has proposed two ballot initiatives that aim to restructure the system and offer citizens their own form of justice.

Chris Forsyth, who has practiced law for 20 years, said he has seen the damage judges can bring to the judicial system because of a lack of oversight and commitment to retaining quality justices.

HUDSON: STRETCHING MY COGNITIVE CAPACITY…
5/30/2014
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

John Hofmeister is a genial, burly man with a mane of silvering hair and superbly tailored suits. The former president of Shell Oil’s American operations, he retired in 2008 following a career that included stops at General Electric, NORTEL and Allied Signal, among others. Somewhere during this journey he became a human resources specialist, joining the Shell Group in 1997 as its international Director for Human Resources. His is not a tale of hardscrabble success as a wildcat petroleum driller, which may explain his decision to launch the non-profit Citizens for Affordable Energy.

5/23/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

TV’s most recognizable bounty hunter helped Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo haul in some cash last week at an Aurora country western bar.

Days later, the conservative editorial board of one of the state’s largest newspapers called on two of Tancredo’s primary opponents to withdraw from the race “in the interest of stopping Tancredo.”

5/23/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Three of the four Republican gubernatorial candidates debated at Colorado Christian University on Tuesday and all three declared victory, as did the fourth, who maintains that primary debates only give Democrats fuel for the fall election.

A month before votes are counted in the race to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper — mail ballots for the election go out at the beginning of next week — each of the Republicans running claim they’ve got the upper hand in the crowded field.

HUDSON: CHEERS AND JEERS FROM THE SESSION
5/23/2014
By Miller Hudson

During the first few weeks following each legislative session, Colorado’s public policy institutes convene their supporters to either brag about their successes or bemoan their failures. For nearly a decade progressive and liberal lobbying shops have had a lot to be happy about (not so much at CACI and the Independence Institute). Once Democrats figured out how to reliably win legislative elections, following nearly three decades of Republican dominance, it turned out they didn’t have any problems a handful of billionaires couldn’t solve for them.

5/16/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean fired up supporters of Democratic congressional candidate Andrew Romanoff with a full-throated endorsement at a packed fundraiser on Tuesday in Aurora.

Dean called Romanoff’s Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, “a very pleasant person who always votes with the extreme right wing” and proceeded to blast the agenda he said Coffman represented.

5/16/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Gov. John Hickenlooper equates veto requests to stars in the sky. The Democratic governor says he has received so many of them, he could start mapping his own constellations.

“The array of veto requests, it’s almost like stars in the sky…” Hickenlooper joked at a media availability on May 8. “They’re very, very bright stars. There are some stars you can navigate off of.”

But the governor said he hasn’t made any decisions on whether he is going to veto any of the dozens of pieces of legislation sent to him in the last days of the legislative session that ended on May 7.

5/16/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

House leaders from both sides of the aisle pointed to a productive legislative session in which they traded the political jabs from last year for a session focused on recovery from recent natural disasters and making investments in economic development, jobs and education.

5/9/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez this week linked Gov. John Hickenlooper’s policies to last year’s murder of Colorado Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements, who was gunned down by parolee Evan Ebel after the white supremacist prison gang member removed his ankle monitor and killed part-time pizza delivery driver Nathan Leon.

Beauprez made the remarks on Sunday, May 4 at a campaign event launching a two-week tour of the state, dubbed the “Stronger Colorado Tour,” after blasting the Democratic incumbent for what Beauprez charged was the state’s tepid economic recovery.

5/9/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Cross-dressing Republicans; a country-themed dig at the Senate; and a catfight that has been a long time coming — all this and more in a typical day at the state Capitol. And despite a few production difficulties and some off-key singing, the House minority pulled off their annual theatrical payback on the majority.

“Hummers” is the traditional series of songs and skits that offer some levity in an effort to poke fun at the majority party. This year, House Republicans piled it on, hopeful that in the interim they will be able to take back the majority.

5/5/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colardo Statesman

When Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was relaxing in her room at the Westin Denver Downtown Hotel Thursday night, she discovered that the press in Colorado is indeed alive and kicking, especially after eyeing some of the left-leaning blogs and liberal websites which earlier that day had blasted her rumored appearance at a fundraiser for Republican Attorney General candidate Cynthia Coffman the next day.

5/5/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Three Republican gubernatorial candidates trained their fire on Democratic incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper — and took a few shots at the missing fourth candidate — in a debate on Saturday at the Tri-City Baptist Church in Westminster.

Former Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp, Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez obliged instructions from debate organizers to avoid personal attacks on each other and instead “save those attacks for the man sitting in office.”

5/5/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Former Sen. Dave Wattenberg was remembered by the Colorado legislature on April 25 for being a “cowboy’s cowboy” — a lawmaker with a wonderful sense of humor who believed that policy fights should end on the chamber floor to make way for a stiff drink and a few laughs with colleagues from both sides of the aisle.

Wattenberg died on Jan. 20, 2014. He was 73 years old.

4/25/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The three Republican gubernatorial candidates who debated on Thursday said they would work to repeal gun-control measures signed last year by Gov. John Hickenlooper and all three added that they would consider working to expand the rights of Coloradans to carry and use firearms in the state.

4/25/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Environmental activists walked into the lion’s den on Monday night, supporting the notion for a ban on hydraulic fracturing at a meeting of the conservative-leaning Centennial Institute, which favors the controversial oil and gas exploratory process.

The debate included activists Phil Doe and Wes Wilson of the progressive organization, Be The Change.

But the activists did not shake in the face of opposition. In fact, they doubled down, comparing fracking to slavery.

HUDSON: SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
4/25/2014
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

Each spring, shortly before final exams, the Conference on World Affairs schedules a week-long program of forums, panels, speakers and cultural performances across the University of Colorado campus in Boulder. This year’s edition was the 66th outing for the CWA. Originally designed as a town meets gown opportunity for the larger community, the Conference was also created to provide a little international flair to what was then surely an obscure and backwater center of higher learning in flyover country.

4/25/2014

April 11, 2014

Dear State Employees:

You’ve heard us say before that facts matter. This week, The Denver Post published stories that misrepresent facts about state hiring. We wanted to take a few minutes today to give you information about state hiring so you can feel confident in your employer’s practices when you are talking with your friends, family and neighbors about your work.

4/25/2014

Dear Editor,

I saw that the April 11 edition of The Colorado Statesman includes your one and a half page feature articles on each of two of the three candidates for U.S. Representative in the Sixth Congressional District. I also noticed that you neglected to mention what positions the Democratic and Republican candidates take on even a single public policy issue.

4/18/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

BOULDER — Former state Sen. Mike Kopp muscled his way to the top of the ballot at the GOP State Assembly on Saturday in what will be a four-way Republican gubernatorial primary. Delegates also awarded a primary slot to Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who placed just behind Kopp in the vote, for a shot at running against incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. But three other Republicans vying for the June 24 primary fell short.

4/18/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

BOULDER — Cynthia Coffman, the state’s chief deputy attorney general, on Saturday won top-line designation over state Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, in the GOP primary to replace her boss, Attorney General John Suthers, who is term-limited.

Coffman scored 69.26 percent of the delegate vote at the Republican State Assembly at the Coors Events Center on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus, while Waller’s 30.74 percent vote barely cleared the 30-percent threshold required for a primary slot.

4/18/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

A decade after launching a nearly unbroken string of success at the ballot box, Colorado Democrats have plenty to celebrate but are facing a demanding election year that could determine whether the blue-leaning state reverses course, party and elected officials told more than 1,000 supporters at the annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner fundraiser on Saturday in Denver.

“This is going to be the hardest campaign that most of us have ever seen,” Gov. John Hickenlooper told the crowd at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel. “It’s going to be a very difficult year for Democrats.”

4/18/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

As Earth Day approaches on Tuesday, environmental issues are in the air — and below the ground.

Citizens are pushing a series of ballot initiatives that would allow bans on hydraulic fracturing, while the oil and gas industry continues to grapple with how to educate the public on what they perceive to be the benefits of so-called “fracking.”

HUDSON: NO POLITICS HERE, RIGHT?
4/18/2014
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

Before publicly debating its ruling on whether Gov. John Hickenlooper violated ethical standards last year by hosting the Democratic Governors’ Association meeting in Aspen, Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission went into executive session Monday morning to confer with their attorney. Apparently in the Passover spirit they must have slit the throat of a lamb, drained its blood and examined the entrails for legal guidance, perhaps augmented with an assist from a snorted elixir of powdered lizard gizzard, eye of newt and skin of Bufo alvarius.

4/13/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff and Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

In the thick of a busy nomination calendar for Colorado candidates, state Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call and state Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio joined The Colorado Statesman for a wide-ranging discussion about the upcoming election and the possible fortunes of candidates in a state both agree is up for grabs in the November election.

4/13/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Several Republican lawmakers will face term limits this year, exiting the legislature after many years of service, including a former House speaker and a former majority leader who both stood at the helm through one of the most tumultuous times in the legislature’s history.

Reps. Frank McNulty of Highlands Ranch and Amy Stephens of Monument came in together, built a majority together, lost control of the power structure together, and will now leave the institution together.

4/13/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado

Just two days before Republicans head into the State Assembly with a message of unity, conservative House Republicans on Thursday attempted a coup against Minority Caucus Whip Kevin Priola in an effort to oust him from leadership.

The effort — led by Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker — failed due to confusion over caucus rules. But an initial vote by the caucus during the 30-minute meeting indicated that a majority of House Republicans were willing to oust Priola as whip.

4/13/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Four Republicans are vying for the nomination to run for the 4th Congressional District seat left open by U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner’s decision in late February to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall.

Two of the candidates — Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer and Steve Laffey of Larimer County — turned in petitions last week and the other two — Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck and state Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley — are hoping to win the support of at least 30 percent of delegates at Friday’s CD 4 assembly in Broomfield.

4/13/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

A year into what promises to be U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s toughest campaign, staffers say the biggest challenge is matching the energy of the candidate himself.

“Trying to keep up with Mike Coffman is an exhausting job,” says Coffman campaign manager Tyler Sandberg. “Our daily life is trying to keep up with Mike Coffman. We may be half his age, but we’re trying to keep up with him.”

4/13/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Republican candidate for secretary of state Wayne Williams says the current office, led by Republican Scott Gessler, could be doing a better job working with county clerks.

Williams might be walking into a tense situation next year if he defeats Democrat Joe Neguse this November. Both Williams and Neguse are running unopposed for their respective parties’ nominations. Gessler is seeking the GOP’s nomination for governor instead of running for re-election.

4/13/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

The two Republican candidates for attorney general both agree that there needs to be a balance between political activism and law when it comes to the top legal office.

Rep. Mark Waller of Colorado Springs and Chief Deputy Attorney General Cynthia Coffman both say that their first priority would be representing the state as its chief attorney if they were elected to the office. But they also believe that there is no hiding from the fact that there are politics at play in any statewide elected office.

4/13/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Republican Walker Stapleton acknowledges that many in the political world believe he is positioning himself for a political future beyond that of the treasurer’s office. But the outspoken state treasurer says his only true intent currently is to seek re-election for another four years managing the state’s finances.

“I’m focused on doing my job right now, and I enjoy dealing with economic fiscal issues, and if I didn’t enjoy my job, I wouldn’t be running for re-election,” explained Stapleton.

4/13/2014

Colorado Republican officials addressed the recent American Israel Public Affairs Annual Colorado event on April 6. AIPAC is the only American organization whose principal mission is to lobby the U.S. government about legislation that strengthens the relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

Below is a lightly edited transcript of the Republican members of the congressional delegation.

8/22/2014
By Sandra Fish
Special to The Colorado Statesman

To understand the national importance of the 6th Congressional District matchup between incumbent GOP Rep. Mike Coffman and Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff, look no further than the money.

The Colorado race is ranked fifth in the nation in terms of money raised — $6.8 million through June 30 — by the candidates among the 435 U.S. House seats up for election Nov. 4.

And it’s one of only eight races in the nation where a challenger from the opposite party has raised more money than the incumbent.

FULTON: THERE’S A SMART WAY TO DO THINGS
8/22/2014
By Greg Fulton
GUEST COLUMNIST

What if I told you that there was a voluntary federal program that has resulted in a savings of 5 billion gallons of fuel, saved $16.8 billion in fuel costs, and reduced carbon monoxide emissions by over 52 million tons since the program’s inception in 2004. You probably wouldn’t believe it.

While we hear stories in the media about government boondoggles, very rarely do we hear about those public programs that do work and may even exceed expectations.

8/15/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Arapahoe County elections officials worked out the kinks this week on a new way to verify the vote count, one that should increase confidence in election results and will be adopted by most counties in Colorado within three years.

8/15/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

The theme for a special Democratic fundraiser in Denver in late July by legendary songstress Carole King could have been “You’ve got a Friend,” the iconic song from 1971 that King wrote and included in her best-selling Tapestry album. Approximately 60 appreciative Democrats had the pleasure of hearing the sweet rendition by the Grammy Award-winning songwriter at a private event sponsored by the DNC Dialogue Forum Colorado.

HUDSON: DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH FOR RESULTS
8/15/2014
By Miller Hudson
GUEST COLUMNIST

I own cookbook that offers the best Blue Ribbon recipes from state fairs across America. It serves as my go-to guide when attempting to prepare a dish for the first time, or when neighbors dump garden bags of parsnips and rutabagas on my porch. Seeing as how a jury has awarded these recipes a first prize, I can count on a quality meal that will please even the most finicky gourmands. They usually generate compliments; I need only faithfully execute the winner’s instructions.

8/15/2014

Dear Editor,

Gov. John Hickenlooper wants an 18 member fracking commission to “compromise.” But Hickenlooper’s preconditions for the fracking commission are one-sided and laughable.

The governor will only appoint people who believe the state’s control of fracking operations preempts any local community’s right to control or ban fracking operations. Where is the compromise?

The governor demands that the commission NOT discuss air quality and water quality impacts from fracking. Where is the compromise?

8/8/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The oil and gas industry leaders who filled the ballroom at the Colorado Convention Center on Wednesday were avid to hear Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper discuss the deal unveiled earlier this week to head off a clash at the ballot box over hydraulic fracturing, but it was an off-hand comment about the Keystone XL pipeline that set off a frenzy of denunciation from Hickenlooper’s political opponents.

8/8/2014

The Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry has endorsed a slate of 49 incumbent and new legislative candidates for election to the Colorado General Assembly, of which 27 are incumbents and 22 are new candidates. Of the 49 total endorsements, 11 are Democrats and 38 are Republicans. The full slate of endorsements can be found on CACI’s full page ad on the website of The Colorado Statesman.

LINZEY: COLORADANS DESERVE BETTER
8/8/2014
By Thomas Alan Linzey
GUEST COLUMNIST

Well that didn’t take long. For all of the grandiose political statements about supporting Colorado communities that have banned oil and gas drilling, the whole house of cards fell overnight.

First came Food and Water Watch, a non-profit organization, which led its supporters across a bridge to nowhere. After announcing that it would run a statewide ballot initiative to bolster the authority of communities to ban oil and gas extraction, the group instead drafted a measure that didn’t. When confronted, the group then tried to redraft the initiative, but then threw in the towel.

HUDSON: FROM NORTH CAROLINA TO D.C. AND BACK
8/8/2014
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

It’s always educational to take a trip almost anywhere in America. Wherever you happen to travel, people are far more cheerful and helpful and warmer than their economic circumstances might suggest. My granddaughter moved with her parents to Asheville, North Carolina last November and this was our first opportunity to visit them there. Delta Airlines operates a red-eye flight into Atlanta from Denver that only costs $100 and every seat was occupied — stuffed with bargain hunters. Stumbling off the plane at 5:30 a.m. we picked up our rental car and headed for the Tiger Run Vineyard.

8/1/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

The timing for State GOP Chairman Ryan Call couldn’t have been more precipitous last Wednesday when he bravely showed up at Garcia’s Mexican restaurant in the Denver Tech Center to address the 7 a.m. weekly meeting of the Arapahoe County Republican Men’s Club.

8/1/2014
By Marianne Goodland
The Colorado Statesman

Oil and gas advocates warned Tuesday that Colorado’s economic recovery could shift back into recession if two ballot initiatives on oil and gas development get onto the November ballot and are approved by voters.

During a telephone town hall Tuesday, attorney Peter Moore, chairman of Vital for Colorado and Tisha Schuller, president and CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, advised callers to say “no” to anyone asking them to sign petitions for the two ballot measures.

8/1/2014
By Alicia M. Cohn
Special to The Colorado Statesman

Mike Dunafon has thrust himself into this year's race for governor, adding to the traditional sparring usually reserved for the major party candidates for the state's top office. He became certified for the ballot a couple of weeks ago as an unaffiliated candidate, securing the necessary 1,000 valid signatures and positioning himself to officially take on popular incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat.

HUDSON: MORE INSTANCES OF HOA PROBLEMS
8/1/2014
By Miller Hudson
The Colorado Statesman

Thirty years ago Prospector’s Point was constructed as a condo development a few blocks east of Federal Boulevard, roughly between 84th and 88th Avenues. It’s a topnotch location affording easy access to both I-25 and U.S. 36. Sited atop one of the highest points in Adams County, panoramic sightlines to the Northwest include Long’s Peak and the foothills, while to the south is a magnificent view of downtown Denver’s skyscrapers, snuggled deep in the Platte River valley. Four hundred individual units comprise the homeowners association. Nearly a hundred of these were added about 15 years ago.

LEVY: BALLOT MEASURE PRESENTS A TRIFECTA OF PROBLEMS
8/1/2014
By Claire Levy
GUEST COLUMNIST

Using gaming money for education is hardly a winning solution.

I don’t know where to begin with this article expressing my profound dismay over the prospect of Colorado resorting to gambling to pay for education.

8/1/2014

Dear Editor,

Thank you to Ernest Luning for his refreshing article in The Statesman covering Gov. Chris Christie’s fly-by in Colorado throwing his “weight” behind Bob Beauprez. It is nice to read a factual story about a man whose physical appearance matches his political convictions. Good job. Glad to see there is still a sense of fun in politics.

Keep it coming, it’s going to be a long road to 2016.

Appreciating a little chuckle,

Shelia Canfield-Jones
Bailey

8/1/2014

Dear Editor,

I am a great fan of being “politically incorrect.” However, the July 25 Statesman headline, “Christie throws full weight behind Beauprez” is just politically nasty journalism. You may or may not like Gov. Christie but that was just plain not right. I might expect that from a kid on a school playground.

William F. Hineser, DPM,
Arvada

7/25/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

If the sizzle of red meat was in the downtown Denver air last weekend, it was by design.

7/25/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz brought a crowd of conservatives to its feet delivering a rousing speech on the night of July 19 at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver.

7/25/2014
By John Andrews
The Colorado Statesman

“Contrition is BS.” Press secretary Ronald Ziegler’s acid tone shocked me — and he didn’t use the initials. It was 1973, a bad year in a bad decade for America. I was a young speechwriter in the Nixon White House, assigned to gather input from Ziegler and national security advisor Henry Kissinger for a TV address that we hoped would put the president’s Watergate troubles behind him.

7/25/2014
The Colorado Statesman

Vital for Colorado and dozens of prominent business, political and economic development organizations are making a direct appeal to U.S. Rep. Jared Polis to withdraw Initiatives 88 and 89, which would ban fracking and limit energy development in the state.

7/18/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Mark Udall to nullify the recent Supreme Court decision — the Hobby Lobby case — that lets certain corporations refuse to cover some contraception methods in group health insurance plans based on religious objections.

7/18/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday said that the city is “thriving,” has fully rebounded from the recession and won’t leave residents or neighborhoods behind as the economy continues to improve during his third State of the City Address.

7/18/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

A rematch in southwest Colorado's House District 59 is likely to end up being one of the state's most expensive legislative races, as Democrats will fight to preserve the seat against an onslaught of Republican and conservative third-party attacks.

Democrat Mike McLachlan, a Durango attorney, is facing off once again against Republican Ignacio rancher J. Paul Brown. When they competed in 2012, Brown was the incumbent. McLachlan won by only 917 votes, or just over 2 points.

HUDSON: HE PLAYS A MEAN GAME OF SMALL BALL
7/18/2014
By Miller Hudson
GUEST COLUMNIST

Every political observer recognizes that the Denver Mayor’s Office is the sweetest political job in Colorado. It pays far better than serving as Governor, and the City Council needs to drum up a two-thirds majority to overturn a single provision in the Mayor’s budget. It’s a strong-mayor arrangement that enables Hizzoner to shape the city and its priorities as he or she sees fit. There are plenty of patronage slots for loyal supporters.

7/11/2014
By Tom Tancredo
GUEST COLUMNIST

Editor’s Note: The following commentary was written by former Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, who lost the June 24 primary to Bob Beauprez. It was first published at WorldNetDaily.com Inc. on July 11, 2014 and reprinted in The Colorado Statesman with the expressed permission of Tom Tancredo.

7/11/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The bear was loose in a big way on Tuesday night in Denver.

President Barack Obama this week passed through Denver — the city where he accepted the nomination for president six years ago — to raise money for Democratic Senate candidates and make a speech about the economy, but found time to play a game of pool with Gov. John Hickenlooper and shake hands with someone wearing a horse head mask during about 20 hours in town. He also had dinner at a popular LoDo eatery with five Coloradans who had written letters to the White House.

7/11/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Following a bitter recall election in which former Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs was ousted from office over his support for gun control, Democrats are eager to take back the Senate District 11 seat.

They have chosen former Rep. Mike Merrifield of Manitou Springs to lead them to victory. But Sen. Bernie Herpin, R-Colorado Springs, who was elected to succeed Morse, is mounting a campaign that he believes will defy odds in the Democratic-leaning district.

7/11/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Proponents of a proposed ballot initiative that would require labeling of genetically modified foods are nearing the end of their signature drive, setting up a real food fight between citizens and producers.

The Right to Know initiative has collected about 90,000 signatures. They must collect at least 86,105 valid signatures by Aug. 4 in order to make the November ballot.

7/11/2014
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

The weekend before the primary election, the United Methodist Church held its Annual Rocky Mountain Conference at the Pueblo convention center. Colorado Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, host of the event, scheduled a field trip for interested delegates to visit the Sand Creek Massacre site near Eads.

WASDEN: PRIMARY MISSION IS JOB CREATION
7/11/2014
By Jeff Wasden
GUEST COLUMNIST

Too often, politics hamper the ability of businesses to expand and put Americans to work. What used to be an important bipartisan reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank has now fallen firmly in the crosshairs of some members of the GOP. Charges of crony capitalism and big governmental overreach flow freely from opposition tongues. “Let the private sector fill that space in the market. Those big companies don’t need the Ex-Im Bank, they can get capital on their own,” scream critics.

7/4/2014

OWENS-BEAUPREZ CONNECTION CEMENTED IN LOVE

Two of Colorado’s well known political families — both Republican — will soon become officially linked with the impending marriage of their offspring. Monica Owens, public affairs consultant at her own company and daughter of former Gov. Bill and First Lady Frances Owens, and John Beauprez, son of GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez and wife Claudia, became engaged on the Fourth of July after a nearly one and a half year courtship.

7/4/2014

Dear Senate President Bill Cadman and Legislators:

On Thursday, July 3, 2014, the Legislative Committee of the Colorado Association of Home Builders voted to support Gov. John Hickenlooper’s request for a special session and his most recent proposed draft of legislation. Rather than ask you or any responsible member of the Colorado General Assembly to vote for this legislation, I have chosen, after over 15 years as the lobbyist for the CAHB, to resign my position.

7/4/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The same day Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez toured the Front Range with his newly minted running mate and his former primary rivals, Democrats pounced on a video that depicts the former congressman telling a room full of Rotarians “we’ve got almost half of the population perfectly happy that somebody else is paying the bill” and decrying the fact that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay federal income tax.

7/4/2014
By Miller Hudson
The Colorado Statesman

The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce sponsored an all day Energy Expo at the Convention Center last Friday. Exhibitors helped stuff swag bags for the free event with everything from water bottles to breath mints. An all-of-the-above philosophy was evidenced by representation from wind farms, solar cell manufacturers and other sustainable technologies to more traditional fossil fuel giants, including oil and gas producers — even the Colorado Mining Association (think clean coal). NOKERO Solar has developed a solar light bulb for markets in the third world without reliable electricity.

7/4/2014

Dear Editor,

Jan Herron’s letter to the editor in the June 27 issue was so far out in right field I thought momentarily I was reading The Onion.

I agree that Colorado women are smart and issues oriented, and polls indeed show the economy and health care are the issues of top concern. But then Herron goes off the deep end by claiming women are more concerned with the manufactured “Benghazi scandal” and “Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi” than abortion and birth control.

6/27/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

A U.S. District Court judge on Thursday released a 50-page ruling that systematically and carefully tears apart a lawsuit filed by gun rights supporters, upholding Colorado’s laws banning high-capacity ammunition magazines and requiring universal background checks.

More than 30 groups and individuals sued the state over the gun control laws passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature last year. Plaintiffs are already planning an appeal of the ruling.

6/27/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Republican primary voters on Tuesday stuck with two incumbent congressmen and gave the nod to a former U.S. Senate candidate, who won the nomination for Colorado’s only open congressional seat.

U.S. Reps. Scott Tipton and Doug Lamborn both won nominations for another term — Tipton easily and Lamborn in a close race — while Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck won decisively in the heavily Republican 4th Congressional District in the night’s congressional primaries.

6/27/2014
By Miller Hudson
The Colorado Statesman

The reliance on computers to design legislative districts ignores issues of community of interest and demographic homogeneity in favor of packing like-minded voters into predictably performing precincts. There may be no better example than Denver’s second house district, home to House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, which cobbles together the single-family residential districts south of Sixth Avenue in central Denver with the transient apartment blocks across Capitol Hill. While all these voters lean Democratic, they differ dramatically in age, attitude and habits of thought.

6/27/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Did parading elephants and a smiling quarterback trump briefcases and flowcharts? Or are Republicans more covetous of Ohio’s 18 electoral votes than Colorado’s nine? Maybe it all came down to dollars and cents, and Denver’s lack of fundraising commitments doomed the city’s chances.

Whatever the elements of the decision, Denver won’t be the host city for the 2016 Republican National Convention, a GOP selection committee said on Wednesday when it announced that Dallas and Cleveland were the surviving finalists. Kansas City, Mo., was also eliminated from consideration.

HUDSON: BILL CLINTON BACK IN 1984
6/27/2014
By Miller Hudson
The Colorado Statesman

With the “Big Dog” back in town this week, it seems appropriate to reminisce about Bill Clinton’s first political visit to the Centennial State 29 years ago. I was serving as Chair of the Denver County Democratic Party, and we were seeking a speaker for our annual dinner. Dale Tooley had recently been diagnosed with cancer and we were moving the event up in order to launch an annual Tooley Award recognizing long service to the Denver Party, which Dale had chaired twice. Tooley would pass just two weeks after the dinner.

6/20/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Bentley Rayburn hopes the third time is a charm as the retired Air Force major general challenges U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in next week’s Republican primary for the central Colorado seat Lamborn hopes to represent for a fifth term. For Lamborn, it’s another election year, another primary in the heavily Republican 5th Congressional District.

The winner of the June 24 primary faces Democrat Irv Halter, who is also a retired Air Force major general.

6/20/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

The four Republicans running in the primary for the open 4th Congressional District seat are barreling toward the finish line in a race that only began this spring, when U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner jumped from his reelection bid to challenge U.S. Sen. Mark Udall.

MARES: BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR OUR POLICIES
6/20/2014
By Don Mares
Contributing Columnist

Two years ago this summer, our public policy team here at Mental Health America of Colorado sent out surveys to about 130 candidates for the state legislature. We asked them 10 questions about reducing the stigma associated with mental health, insurance coverage, the criminal justice system, and improving social determinants of mental health.

6/20/2014

Former state Sen. Mary Ellen Epps, a long-time Republican who represented the Colorado Sprins area, died on June 6 at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs. She was 79.

Epps served six terms in the House, from 1986-1998. She then served one term in the Senate, from 1998-2002. She represented the Fountain and Security-Widefield areas.

6/20/2014

On June 1, a very special person passed away by the name of James Carl Hall. Many people, especially those in Arapahoe County and Colorado Republican politics, knew him as General Jim, for he was a Brigadier General (Ret.) in the United States Air Force.

His death earlier this month was not unexpected, but the sad reality of his passing has given way to many beautiful memories by those who came to pay their respects at Our Lady of Loreto Catholic Church in Foxfield on June 6.

6/20/2014

VETERAN POL JOINS LEADERSHIP PROGRAM OF THE ROCKIES

What a pleasant surprise to see longtime political operative Deb Jensen back in town. We spotted the former Coloradan, and her husband David, at the recent Mizel Museum’s Community Enrichment Dinner cocktail hour — aka the biggest schmooze party of the year — and we recognized her immediately after some two-plus decades. Jensen, who had been living in the Philadelphia area, has been appointed director of development and communications at the Leadership Program of the Rockies, a fitting position given all of her experience over the years with Republican campaigns and lobbying.

6/20/2014

Dear Editor,

Candidate for Governor Bob Beauprez is out with a new commercial claiming he will defend individual liberty and constitutional rights.

6/20/2014

Dear Editor,

Pro tip for a certain gubernatorial candidate whose latest email compares himself to Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and David Brat: when you meet liberty Republicans at the State GOP Central Committee meetings, you might not want to say “Are you here to cause trouble?”
— #can’tmakethisstuffup

6/20/2014

Dear Editor,

In Hanoi in 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promoted passage of the most far-reaching trade agreement ever, encompassing many Pacific Rim countries. Her pitch for the Trans-Pacific Partnership heralded lower trade barriers and improved labor conditions and environmental protections, echoing promises by NAFTA promoters 20 years earlier. Even as Secretary Clinton stated concern about free expression online, and pronounced that, “Democracy and prosperity go hand-in-hand,” the backroom dealings of corporate lobbyists have written the TPP to challenge everything from Net Neutrality to democratic process and state sovereignty. Wholesale powers granted to corporations would permit them to sue governments for alleged lost profits, and to overturn regulatory laws intended to protect people and the environment.

6/13/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

A deal brokered by Gov. John Hickenlooper to avoid an onslaught of proposed ballot questions that could lead to more bans on hydraulic fracturing remains complicated at best, as both environmentalists and industry executives are fractured.

The wishful grand bargain spearheaded by Hickenlooper, a Democrat, aims to get U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, to drop his push to allow local governments to create their own rules and regulations governing the oil and gas industry. He would also like to increase well setbacks to at least 1,500 feet. The current standard is 500 feet.

6/13/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

So, you think the days of conducting politics in smoke-filled rooms have fallen by the wayside?

Not so, at least not on the evening of June 10 when the Senate Majority Fund held a reception featuring cigars, drinks and insight into the 2014 elections. The venue was the estimable Churchills at the Brown Palace Hotel, where the menu consists of an extensive list of vodkas, single-malt scotches, small-batch bourbons, and premium spirits and wines. And, according to the tony club’s offerings, more than 60 cigars — meaning something for every palate from their customized humidor.

6/13/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

[Updated 6-17-14 to amend the incorrect gender of Aaron Greco's daughter in one of the photos below.]

It was a bittersweet occasion on June 4 when U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter and his staff gathered at the Uptown Tavern in Denver for a “passing of the baton” party for their longtime communications and policy director Leslie Oliver.

HUDSON: ATTORNEY DAVID LANE TO THE RESCUE
6/13/2014
By Miller Hudson
Contributing Columnist

Scoot your chairs up next to the campfire, children, and I’ll tell you a scary story. Once upon a time in Aurora, Colorado, there was a gang of neo-Fascist thugs who threw up roadblocks and demanded to examine your driver’s license. They even asked why you were driving through this particular intersection (Iliff and Buckley) — curious to know where you were going and why, (as though this was any of their business).

6/6/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

A Democratic committee began running TV ads on Thursday attacking the two leading GOP gubernatorial candidates in a move Colorado Republicans blasted as meddling and manipulative.

6/6/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert opined on Thursday afternoon that a well-known, conservative Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit should not be treated as traditional media and is thereby subject to financial disclosures in making a political film focused on Gov. John Hickenlooper and elected officials in Colorado.

Citizens United, famous for initiating a U.S. Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates to unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions, requested a declaratory order from the Colorado secretary of state’s office.

6/6/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

A top congressional Democrat said this week that congressional candidate Abel Tapia could surprise folks and help the party take control of the House in the fall election.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer — number two in Democratic House leadership — appeared on Tuesday at a fundraiser in Denver for Tapia, a former state legislator from Pueblo and until earlier this year the director of the Colorado Lottery.

6/6/2014

Dear Editor,

It’s typical. Some groups seem so fixated on their political agenda for education that they have lost all perspective. People certainly are entitled to their own opinions of the new Jeffco superintendent hire, Mr. Dan McMinimee. But they’re not entitled to their own facts.

5/30/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Colorado’s top oil and gas advocate, Tisha Schuller, finally got her chance on Tuesday to drill away at U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who has become the face of a campaign that could lead to banning hydraulic fracturing across Colorado.

Schuller, president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, challenged Polis to a debate back in December 2013. She called on the congressman to debate her after Polis demanded that COGA halt legal action against so-called “fracking” bans in several local communities.

5/30/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush headlined a high-dollar fundraiser for his cousin Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton on Thursday night at the Brown Palace in Denver and got some strong encouragement to throw his hat in the ring for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

“The optimism, the clarity of message and principle — it fires me up,” said former Denver Broncos safety John Lynch, introducing Bush to the avid crowd of Stapleton donors. “This man can lead.”

SMITH: UNDERLYING ISSUE OF A ‘FORGOTTEN MILITARY’ IS UNCHANGED
5/30/2014
By Morgan Smith
Contributing Columnist

When former Senator majority leader and presidential candidate Bob Dole says that it’s time for VA Secretary Erik Shinseki to go, we better listen because Dole, a war hero, wounded veteran, great public servant and frequent user of VA services has more credibility on this issue than any American. Having introduced Shinseki at his confirmation in 2009, this must be a very painful experience for him.

5/23/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

On Wednesday night, at the Wings Over the Rockies venue where president emeritus of the U.S. Olympic Committee Bill Hybl was being honored with the Mizel Institute’s Cultural Enrichment Award, State Republican Chairman Ryan Call could hardly contain himself. The Republican National Committee was set to announce the following day, he disclosed, that Denver had made it to the round of three finalists bidding for the 2016 Republican National Convention.

One out of three chances wasn’t too shabby and Call was clearly riding high.

5/23/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, first elected to Congress in 2006, didn’t mince words when he told a bipartisan group of supporters at the Brown Palace Hotel on May 16 that his most important mission in Congress is to foster the all important U.S.-Israeli relationship.

5/23/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Following a failed attempt to secede from the state of Colorado, the so-called “51st state movement” has morphed into an effort to restructure the state legislature with the aim of giving rural Colorado more of a voice.

The newest attempt comes in the form of a proposed ballot initiative that would reorganize the legislature with a model similar to U.S. Congress. The House would be based on land area and each county in the state would have its own representative, reducing the House from 65 to 64 representatives.

5/23/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Pension financing experts say it will take “shared sacrifice” in order to solve the crisis of unfunded liabilities facing current and future retirees.

Greg Smith, executive director of the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association, said Colorado coined the term “shared sacrifice” when it began its push for PERA reform in 2009.

The state faces at least $23 billion in unfunded pension responsibilities, much of which was exacerbated by an economic downturn that began in 2008, sinking investments and causing pension managers to scramble for a solution.

5/23/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

After months of wrangling over a spending package for K-12 education, all sides of the debate came together for a signing ceremony on Wednesday in which stakeholders were able to put the contentious legislative session aside to bask in the reflected glory of dramatically increased education funds.

Gov. John Hickenlooper joined lawmakers, lobbyists, school leaders and teachers at Ponderosa Elementary in Aurora where students watched the governor sign two education spending bills.

5/16/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez snagged the endorsement of high-profile politicians this week, including winning the support of former GOP presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“As a former governor, I can tell you that Bob Beauprez has exactly what Colorado needs to lead,” Romney wrote in an email sent to Beauprez supporters. “Bob’s unique combination of passion, drive, conservative values and experience will make him an outstanding governor.”

5/16/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

After a rocky start, Senate leaders from both sides of the aisle were able to put aside contention and differences to conduct a bipartisan legislative session with shared values, including funding education and recovering from recent natural disasters and the economic downturn.

5/16/2014
By Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman

Many accolades describe the late Paul Sandoval, the former Democratic state senator from Denver and iconic political figure who died two years ago of pancreatic cancer: he was considered the “godfather of Colorado politics,” known for making or breaking a political career with his blessing alone. He was a family man, a devoted husband, loving father and grandfather; a strong proponent for education in the local community; a successful small businessman, or as he often referred to himself, “just a tamale maker.”

5/9/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

As the gavel came down Wednesday and sine die was declared on the 2014 legislative session, Democrats continued to squirm over bad blood within their political family after several lawmakers on the left battled it out over controversial bills.

The contention was first highlighted in the Senate last month when Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, and Jeanne Nicholson, D-Black Hawk, sponsored a measure that aimed to protect reproductive health care rights.

5/9/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Proponents of a series of proposed ballot initiatives that would authorize local governments to ban hydraulic fracturing are moving ahead after negotiations around a legislative fix failed.

Coloradans For Local Control had watched the negotiations carefully; they are proposing ballot questions that would authorize local control over oil and gas development, potentially expanding fracking bans in some towns, cities and counties.

SMITH: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WALLY!
5/9/2014
By Morgan Smith

I wanted to invite you and Julie to his 80th birthday party. There will be lots of people there you know… It will be a SURPRISE,” wrote Sharon, Wally Stealey’s wife of 57 years.

Well, it was a surprise, a wonderful one. For me, as well as for Wally, the legendary lobbyist from Pueblo who has made his mark on the Colorado political scene for so many years.

SALAZAR: AGRO-TERRORISM IS A REASONABLE THREAT
5/9/2014
By John Salazar
GUEST COLUMNIST

When people go shopping for food on their dinner table, they may consider its nutritious value and its cost, but many don’t consider the farmer and rancher behind every piece of food on their plate. For every bite you take, the agricultural community strives to provide a healthy, abundant food supply. But, let’s dig even deeper and on a global security level.

Each morning on the news, there are typically stories of terrorism across the globe. In a world that can sometimes seem unstable and hostile, it has become even more critical that we look at areas that could be exposed to

5/5/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

If former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo wins the governorship, he intends to put Colorado at the center of a debate over sovereignty of states in the face of “over-reaching federal power,” the Republican candidate said this week.

“We are going to have to establish the whole idea of state’s rights, of the 10th Amendment,” Tancredo said at a meeting of the Jefferson County Republican Men’s Club on Monday in Wheat Ridge. “The fight is going to have to start somewhere. Let it be here, I firmly believe, because I am willing to do it. Not only willing, I am looking forward to it.”

5/5/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

With only a week left in the legislative session, lawmakers last Wednesday night formally introduced one of the most controversial pieces of legislation, a measure that aims to curb construction-defects lawsuits in an effort to spur the development of affordable housing.

The measure has been a long time coming, with negotiations on Senate Bill 220 dating back to late last summer; the issue itself has been brewing for years at the Capitol, with previous legislative attempts failing.

5/5/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Business and labor shared a rare Kumbaya moment over workers’ compensation reform this week, with both sides of the debate agreeing that the experience should be used as a template for how to bring two sides together on a polarizing subject.

When House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, last year asked Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver — the chair of the House Business, Labor, Economic and Workforce Development Committee — to carry a workers’ compensation reform bill, unions and business owners began to dig their respective trenches.

WASDEN: WASHINGTON HAS FAILED TO LEAD ON THIS ISSUE
5/5/2014
By Jeff Wasden
GUEST COLUMNIST

America is a nation built of immigrants and governed by the rule of law. But currently, our broken immigration system is completely failing at enforcing our existing laws, at securing our nation’s borders, and at providing a usable guest worker program that meets the needs of American businesses. Reform is long overdue! We need to enact an immigration solution that will strengthen our borders and national security, while getting the skilled and necessary workforce to the very companies that want to grow their businesses and stay competitive in a growing global economy.

4/25/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Before the bell rings on the “Capitol High School” legislative session that ends May 7, a slew of education proposals must still make their way through the process, including a significant K-12 funding measure that still faces controversy.

The so-called Student Success Act would add $110 million in funding. But the issue has been a volatile one, with lawmakers going back and forth on how much to invest in the negative factor, or buying down the $1 billion education shortfall that resulted from the economic downturn.

4/25/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Often, when she speaks to groups, says U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat, she’ll ask how many people there have thought about running for office. Nearly all the men will raise their hands and almost none of the women do, she says, and that’s a problem.

That disparity, she said on Tuesday at a panel discussion on women’s professional advancement in Denver, has identifiable causes and requires a determined approach to ensure more women not only hold office but start political careers early enough to accumulate the seniority it takes to wield significant power.

WOODARD & UPDIKE: A CONSISTENT DEFINITION OF ‘DRUG ENDANGERED CHILD’ BENEFITS KIDS
4/25/2014
By Jade Woodard and Becky Miller Updike
Contributing Columnists

There are numerous stories of drug endangered children available in the media today – children involved in sex trafficking rings being traded for drugs, parents drinking too much alcohol or taking too much medication and accidentally suffocating their children while co-sleeping, children eating their parent’s marijuana edibles and being taken to the emergency rooms, hash oil labs exploding, and on and on. The stories are numerous and tragic.

4/25/2014

Dear Editor,

I recognize that Peter Marcus, in a story in the April 18 issue, attempted to do a comprehensive and unbiased look at personhood efforts that as he writes, “come back to haunt Republican candidates.”

That said, this comment is beyond the pale, exposing either incredible biologic ignorance or a thinly veiled attempt to mislead the reader.

“Supporters, however, say nothing in the proposed constitutional amendment would give protection to eggs, nor ban contraception.”

4/18/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

BROOMFIELD – State Sen. Scott Renfroe edged Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck for the top spot on the Republican primary ballot for the open 4th Congressional District seat at a GOP district assembly on Friday.

At other district assemblies held the same day, challengers surprised U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton and U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn by winning enough delegate votes to force primaries against the incumbents.

4/18/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

More than 1,200 Democratic delegates poured into the Colorado Convention Center Saturday, April 12 for the 2014 State Assembly, nominating a slate of statewide candidates to battle against Republicans this November.

The anticipation in the air was palpable inside and outside the Bellco Theatre. Delegates, volunteers and supporters donned pins and waved signs to demonstrate their endorsements for the Democratic ticket. Repeatedly, Democrats danced to the hit pop song “Happy” by Pharrell, hopeful that the party will walk away joyous and victorious this fall.

4/18/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

BROOMFIELD – Conservative commentator Michael Reagan told Colorado Republicans that the GOP must embrace the inclusive, welcoming approach taken by his iconic father, former President Ronald Reagan, in order to win elections.

Reagan spoke for an hour to about 400 donors at the state GOP’s annual Centennial Dinner on Friday at the Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield on the eve of the Republican State Assembly.

4/18/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

For the first time, so-called “personhood” supporters are actively opposing a Republican candidate, and that candidate is Weld County District Attorney and Congressional District 4 hopeful Ken Buck.

The pro-life movement, which aims to assign constitutional rights to the unborn in an attempt to ban abortion, feels like Buck stabbed them in the back when he reversed course on the initiative.

JACKSON: LET ME CLEAR THE AIR
4/18/2014
By Tim Jackson
GUEST COLUMNIST

Have you heard the good news on the environment?

Well, it’s not exactly new but it may surprise you.

Since 1980, emissions of six common pollutants have declined by two thirds, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Meanwhile, the U.S. population increased by more than a third, energy consumption grew by more than a quarter, and travel by car increased by 92 percent.

4/13/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Several Democrats will face term limits this year after many years of service, including Rep. Mark Ferrandino, the first openly gay speaker of the House, who believes that his rise to leadership oddly rested in part on the failure of a same-sex civil unions measure in 2012.

Sworn-in on Oct. 1, 2007 after then-Rep. Mike Cerbo of Denver stepped down, Ferrandino was only 29 years old. The bright-eyed optimist with a penchant for budget discussions could have never dreamed that his legislative journey would take him to the top of the House chamber’s food chain.

4/13/2014
By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Statesman

Even though Andrew Romanoff’s 6th Congressional District campaign staff is stocked with veterans of previous Romanoff runs — notable for massive volunteer participation and enthusiasm — staffers say the buzz about the Democrat’s campaign this year is already reaching the frenetic level not usually found until much closer to the election.

4/13/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

One thing Democrat Joe Neguse will not be doing if he is elected secretary of state in November is moonlighting.

The University of Colorado Regent from CD 2 points to the kerfuffle current Secretary of State Scott Gessler, a Republican, caused shortly after taking office in 2011 when Gessler planned to work part-time at his old law firm, which deals almost exclusively with election law.

4/13/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

The sole Democratic candidate for attorney general says that he would look at each case through a legal lens rather than through a political filter if he were elected the state’s next chief attorney.

Don Quick, the former district attorney for Adams County, is almost sure to receive his party’s nomination at the State Assembly in order to compete against one of two Republican candidates, either Rep. Mark Waller of Colorado Springs, or Chief Deputy Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

4/13/2014
By Peter Marcus
The Colorado Statesman

Former U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey is ready for another go at public office after only a short two years in Washington, D.C. But she says she isn’t using the treasurer’s race as an opportunity to jump back into the limelight.

“I’ve had a long career in both the public and the private sectors, and I’m at a point in my career where I want to do something that is meaningful for me for the next couple of years,” explained Markey.

4/13/2014
The Colorado Statesman

Colorado Democratic officials addressed the recent American Israel Public Affairs Annual Colorado event on April 6. AIPAC is the only American organization whose principal mission is to lobby the U.S. government about legislation that strengthens the relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

Below is a lightly edited transcript of the Democratic members of the congressional delegation as well as the remarks of the Governor.

4/13/2014

Following is a summary of April ballot measures as reported by Sam Mamet, executive director of the Colorado Municipal League:

• TABOR excess revenue retention — Mead, approved.

• Debt — Erie, $6.2 million for a police station and municipal court building; Keenesburg, $960,000 for street improvements; Lyons, $995,000 to match a FEMA community disaster loan; Pagosa Springs, $18 million for a community recreation center; Ridgway, $1.9 million for street improvements; and Wellington, $2.4 million for a town park. All approved except Pagosa Springs.