Category Archives: Colorado Governor

Fox News Poll: Tom Tancredo Now Within 3 of John Hickenlooper For Colo. Governor

Tom Tancredo has edged within 3 points of  Denver Democratic Mayor John Hickenlooper in the latest Fox News Poll.  Hickenlooper now takes 47 percent of the vote to Tancredo’s 44 percent.  Maes drew just 6 percent support, down from 10 percent two weeks ago.  Seventy three percent of Republicans backed Tancredo over their party’s nominee.  Tancredo told crowds this past weekend  he needs 80 percent GOP support to win.

The poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted for Fox News by Pulse Opinion Research on October 30.  The poll has a 3 point margin of error, making the race a toss-up.  Full demographic cross-tabs are here, and the complete questionnaire is here.  The Fox News article also has the polls for  key races in other battleground states.

Ritter Would Pick Replacements Of Any Judges Voted Out In November Election

As confirmed to me by the judicial branch almost three months ago, current Colorado Democratic governor Bill Ritter would name any replacements of judges not retained in Tuesday’s election.  (See, Article VI, Section 20 of the state constitution).  Now that Lawweek ran a story on it today, I finally felt comfortable blogging on it, as so many Republicans told me otherwise despite my having done a thorough email cross-examination of Judicial Branch Public Information Officer, Rob McCallum.

Here’s his reply to my intense questioning back on August 5:

All judges standing for retention are in the midst of a term that expires on Jan. 11, 2011.  If a judge is not retained and sits through the end of the term (which is historically the case) the nominating commission will convene following the November election and go through the process to send nominees to the Governor who will then appoint the new judge to the bench beginning on, or after, Jan 11, 2011.

If a judge is not retained by the voters and decides to immediately resign (to my knowledge this has never happened) then the nominating commission would begin its process and would have names to the Governor within 30 days of the judges departure.  The Governor would then make the appointment.

In both scenarios it would be Governor Ritter’s appointment.  [Ed:  Ritter's term similarly expires on January 11, 2011]

So much for the debate on the importance of the next governor for the current judiciary, right?.   Or is it?  Sure Ritter is going to appoint some legal losers.  He was a terrible DA and loves other terrible DAs for trial court judgeships (but so did Republican Bill Owens), and of course he will try to appoint Dems or legal establishment insiders who might as well be Dems to the Colorado Supreme Court.  But voting the bums out now  means the replacements only get a provisional two-year term, and are up for retention again then.

As  Clear the Bench Colorado Director Matt Arnold frequently pointed out when it looked like Hickenlooper was a sure bet, the judicial branch ain’t easy to change, and it’s best to take it one step at a time.  After all, it’s better to get these legal losers out now (Justices Martinez, Bender and Rice ) and have a go at the replacement in two instead of the devils-we-know in 10 years.

And while we’re at it, look carefully at your own judges.  If you look at the performance reviews read between the lines, don’t just look at the recommendation or the summary – over 99 percent receive “RETAIN” recommendations.   Under the guise of operating a merit system, the Commission on Judicial Performance operates more like the teachers unions – they get a 99 percent “retain” too.  So if your local judges sound sketchy in the least, there’s a good chance they’re legal losers too.

We need a reform that grades on a curve.  If it’s really about merit, then let’s reform the law to require the Commission give no-retain recommendations to say the bottom 10 percent.  This will force the judges out of the world of communist-like equality into a world of at least modest competition .  Besides, if the locals love their legal losers so much they are free to vote to retain those bottom-ranked judges.

We also need to make the entire evaluation process more open and transparent. We need a lot of reform, and I’ll go into more about the specifics after the election, but contrary to the straw man arguments brought up by the legal establishment, this reform can easily come within Colorado’s so-called Missouri System of appointment and retention.  No one involved in the forefront of the reform movement is advocating straight elections.

Meanwhile, vote down the three Supreme Court justices on the ballot, and urge everyone you know in Larimer County to vote out corrupt, evidence manufacturing district court judges Jolene Blair and Terry Gilmore.  Since January, I’ve been all over this pair of legal refuse that caused an innocent man, Tim Masters,  to sit in prison for murder for 10 years  because of exonerating evidence they withheld,  for which they were disciplined, and for which the county and city paid out a total of $10 million to Masters.  I’m thrilled  that it looks like the voters will spit on the “RETAIN” recommendations cynically handed out by the Commission on Judicial Performance.

Pollster Forecasts Tancredo Win For Colo. Governor, GOP Retake Of Both State House And Senate

The Businessword’s Don Johnson reports that David Flaherty, the president and CEO of  Magellan, a Republican leaning poll with excellent turnout models,  predicts Tom Tancredo will beat Denver Dem Mayor John Hickenlooper in Tuesday’s Colorado governor’s race.   Flaherty also predicts Republicans will take both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate.

Other polls show Tancredo trailing in everything from tight contests to a dubious CNN outlier that gives the hard left Hick a double-digit lead.

So why does Magellan think Tancredo will win?  According to  Don Johnson’s interview with Flaherty:

Flaherty said polls that show John Hickenlooper winning the gubernatorial race are using demographics and turnout numbers that incorrectly skew their results in favor of Democrats.

“I do believe that Tom Tancredo is going to win,” Flaherty declared. In recent polls, Tancredo has about 73% of Republican voters. Flaherty thinks Tancredo will wind up with over 80% of Republicans. It will be in the low 80s, he said.

Tancredo is benefiting from Dan Maes’ decision to stay in the race, Flaherty said. Because Maes stayed in the race, Hickenlooper and the Democrats figured that Tancredo and Maes would split the conservatives’ and unaffiliated voters’ and that they didn’t have anything to worry about. If Maes had dropped out, as Tancredo and Republican leaders asked him to, the Democrats would have attacked Tancredo, he said.

Now that Tancredo is poised to win, Flaherty said, it’s too late for the Democrats to attack Tancredo.

The excellent post at Businessword has lots more details on these races, as well as the attorney general contest.

Dem. Poll Shows Hickenlooper Lead Trimmed To 3%: Colo. Governor’s Race a Toss-Up

Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning polling firm, just released a poll that shows Hickenlooper’s lead over Tom Tancredo trimmed to only three points in the volatile Colorado governor’s race, 47-44.   Dan Maes proved my colleague Don Johnson’s awesome predictive powers by scraping only 5% .  PPP surveyed 818 likely Colorado voters from October 21st to 23rd. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.4%.

The PPP survey  backs up the latest Magellan poll that put Hickenlooper and Tancredo in a statistical tie at 44-43,  and casts even more doubt on the recent Denver Post/Survey USA poll, which put Hickenlooper on top by six.  Ben DeGrow has an excellent analysis here.

Given the Magellan survey may have understated Tancredo’s likely performance given that it relied on 2008 and earlier voter turnout patterns instead of the likely more conservative turnout advantage this election, there’s a good shot Tancredo is really in the lead.  PPP, which often works to spin the results favorably for the Democrat, had this encouraging outlook for Tancredo supporters:

Hickenlooper’s been unable to rise above the 47-48% mark in PPP’s polls over the last three months. When Tancredo and Maes were splitting the vote relatively evenly it looked like that would be enough to win but now Hickenlooper really appears to be at risk of losing. Given the trajectory of the race it is not inconceivable that Tancredo could pick up a good chunk of even the small amount of support Maes has remaining and 38% of the undecideds are Republicans to only 23% who are Democrats. Those two data points suggest that Tancredo still has more room to grow.

A few months ago, I and several other conservative bloggers thought Business Word’s Don Johnson had truly lost it in predicting Maes would only garner five percent.  I thought the “R” after the name Maes would in and of itself guarantee him a much higher split.  Not only is my being so badly wrong encouraging for this election, but I think it speaks to the potential strength of conservative and libertarian third-party candidates generally over party label.  I think we are seeing the same phenomenon with Lisa Murkowski in Alaska.

Then again, Maes is a unique case.  PPP’s survey revealed Maes has the lowest favorability ratings of any candidate in the country.

Maes is in a class of his own as the most unpopular candidate running for office anywhere in the country this year. A remarkable 75% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of him to only 8% who see him in a positive light. He’s pretty universally reviled by Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.

Let’s hope Tancredo keeps growing into his growing room and that Colorado is spared the train wreck that would define a Hickenlooper reign.

Tom Tancredo Organizes Boycott Demonstration of Colo. Governor’s Debate

Tom Tancredo is urging supporters to demonstrate outside of the Club 20 debate in Grand Junction, Colorado on September 11.  The debate will be held only between embattled Republican candidate Dan Maes and Obama Democrat, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

Protesters will gather at The Two Rivers Convention Center, which is located at 159 Main Street, at 6:45 p.m.  Tom Tancredo will be there and will comment to the public about his exclusion from the debate and other issues.

Ritter To Appoint Lesbian Activist Deputy Atty. General Monica Marquez To Colo. Supreme Court

As anticipated, lame duck Colorado Governor Bill Ritter will appoint lesbian activist, Deputy Attorney General Monica Marquez to replace Mary Mullarkey on Colorado’s embattled Supreme Court, according to a report by the Denver Post’s top political correspondent, Lynn Bartels.

Monica Marquez ( DENVER POST-RJ SANGOSTI)

Marquez has the needed pedigree.  A law degree from Yale,  Lesbian activism, and a dad who was the first Hispanic to serve on the Colorado Court of Appeals.  We don’t know much more about Marquez or the other two finalists  as they all jointly refused to speak to the public, despite their contact information being provided for exactly that purpose.

She would be the second Hispanic to serve on the Colorado Supremes, and perhaps the only one  should Justice Alex Martinez lose his bid for retention in November.  Marquez, who obtained her law degree in 1997,  has scant experience – and almost all of it defending state government and its employees.  A much nicer photo of Marquez sporting a more stylish haircut is here, together with photos of her co-finalists. [deleted because Law week web site infected with malware]


Anyone who thinks Marquez’ votes on any of the disputed tax and other issues of legitimate concern to the public would be any different from Mary Mullarkey’s votes is delusional.

Clear the Bench Colorado may well have prompted Chief Justice Mullarkey’s resignation, and they and tireless Director Matt Arnold should be applauded for that effort.  It’s an important first step.

But until we achieve systemic change in the judicial branch, we are doing nothing more than rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.  Worse, we fool people into believing that cosmetic cures mean something when they don’t.  Such deception will only slow reform, not aid it.  What Bill Ritter has given us appears to be a younger, more virile model of Mullarkey.

Ken Buck Joins List Of Ex-Dan Maes Supporters: U.S. Sen. Candidate Says Maes ‘Struggling’ Over Withdrawal From Colo. Governor’s Race

Ken Buck’s U.S. Senate campaign just released a statement that provides the strongest evidence yet that Colorado Republican candidate for governor, Dan Maes, is seriously considering withdrawing from the race.  Buck has now withdrawn his already less than robust support, saying:

After having a lengthy conversation with Dan Maes, it is clear to me that Dan is struggling to determine the best path for his campaign, his family and for Colorado.   I have decided that I can no longer support his candidacy for governor of Colorado.

This latest loss of support combines with that of all conservative bloggers and the Denver Post, prominent GOP leaders, and perhaps most signficantly, leading Colorado Tea Party activists.  The Republican Governors Association also snubbed the stumbling Maes and refused him financial support.

Republicans have until Tuesday, September 7  to formally announce a replacement for Maes so that the new candidate can make the ballot, should Maes listen to what just about every conservative in the state is urging him to do.

The Democratic candidate, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, is vulnerable after a series of police misconduct scandals where he has at best been tardy and detached, and recent disclosures of his funding for a number of extreme left-wing political organizations, including ACORN.

Right wing conservative candidate Tom Tancredo, running under the ACP banner, has made noises he would opt out of his bid if  Maes withdrew and the Republicans appointed an  acceptable replacement candidate.

Hickenlooper 43, Maes 31, Tancredo 18 in Rasmussen’s First Post-Primary Colo. Governor Poll

In the first post-primary Colorado governor’s race poll, Rasmussen reports Republican nominee, Dan Maes, received a higher than expected 31 percent of the votes when pitted against Democrat Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and former Congressman Tom Tancredo, running under the American Constitution Party banner.  Hickenlooper received 43 percent and Tancredo 18 percent. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate in the race, and only five percent (5%) are undecided.

Virtually everyone believes Hickenlooper will win the governorship if the race remains a three-way contest, and Colorado is now ranked Solid Democrat in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard.

Rasmussen conducted its  survey of 750 Likely Voters  on August 11, 2010, the day after the Colorado primary.  The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Tancredo: Wadhams Called McInnis “Untrustworthy,” Maes A “Joke”

Tom Tancredo and Colorado Gop Chair Dick Wadhams appeared this morning on  Peter Boyles’ KHOW radio show, and Tancredo immediately accused Wadhams’ of telling him many times, and “in more ways than one,” that Scott McInnis was “untrustworthy” and Dan Maes was a “joke.” Wadhams then called Tancredo a liar, which prompted Boyles to jump in to defend Tancredo. Boyles backed Tancredo up, saying Wadhams had told him the very same thing many times in private conversations.

Wadhams blasted back that Tancredo had told him at the State Assembly that he wanted to “exploit” the power of his supporters among the delegates to keep Maes off the ballot.  Tancredo admitted this without hesitation, and said to Wadhams, “and you said that was a good idea, didn’t you?”

The lively and combative exchange is not only entertaining, but may have provided some new revelations on the permutations and combinations triggered by a Tancredo gubernatorial candidacy.  It is a must-listen.

The entire radio show from this morning is here, and the Tancredo-Wadhams bout begins at the 10:15 mark.

Regardless of what you think about the issues, one thing is clear:  Tancredo mopped the floor with Wadhams as a debater.  Not that he needed any help, but he got it from Boyles,  who was merciless with Wadhams and took on a role akin to an aggressive defense attorney.

The brawl seemed to leave open the possibility that Tancredo would drop out if the GOP replaced the winner of the August 10 primary with a candidate “stronger” than Tancredo.   But with no symmetrical agreement by Wadhams to support Tancredo and not appoint a GOP successor if Tancredo were polling stronger after the primary, Tancredo and counsel Boyles weren’t ready to settle the dispute quite yet.

Colo. Secretary of State Won’t Opine About GOP Replacement for McInnis on Ballot for Governor

Colorado Secretary of  State, Bernie Buescher, just announced his office will not give an opinion of what would be a legal ballot substitution for Scott McInnis – the disgraced Republican candidate for governor.  McInnis is the subject of a plagiarism scandal after reports of his using unattributed research in exchange for $300,000 he was paid for 150 pages of  water law articles by the Hasan family foundation.

Buescher’s office declined to give an advance opinion, and said they would address the issue only when a candidate actually attempted to be placed on the ballot:

“This week, my office has fielded numerous calls asking for answers to hypothetical questions related to whether a candidate may be replaced in a contested primary,” Buescher said. “At this point, no decision will be given to speculation that may impact a current and actual contest. Any conclusions reached by my office to these inquiries may potentially have an unintentional effect on an ongoing race.”

“If a scenario does occur with actual implications to the ballot, voters can rest assured my office will provide a timely and clear decision that follows Colorado’s constitutional and statutory provisions. Only after all individuals and organizations impacted by this decision have had an opportunity for reasonable input, will we issue an official position.”

Buescher, a Democrat, obviously hampers the Republicans by being so coy.  To be fair, advisory opinions are something most government agencies prefer to avoid – it cuts off their options.  At the same time, shouldn’t the circumstances under which a replacement candidate can be placed on the ballot be clear to the public?

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