Category Archives: Donald Johnson

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.

Colo. GOP Candidate News of the Day: Buck DA Record Impressive; Perlmutter-Frazier Poll; Ramirez HD 29; Hasan Likely Got Record Sealed, DA Hurlbert Takes Fifth

Colorado U.S. Senate Republican Candidate Ken Buck:  DA Record Fiscally Conservative and Otherwise Exemplary. See excellent post by Don Johnson from his wide-ranging, and detailed two-part interview with Buck.  I’ve previously posted about the admirable transparency and courtesy his office and Weld County had shown me, and about how DA Hurlbert, running for SD 16 against Tim Leonard, had not.

Now that Democrat Boulder DA Stan Garnett is challenging John Suthers for Colorado A.G., I hope both Hurlbert and Gannett will be forthcoming in answering questions about the issues relevant to their candidacies.  Garnett was very nice and got me his budgets ASAP.  I’ll post them under Resources shortly. Hurlbert has not published or turned over his 2009 and 2010 budgets – the most relevant and important ones.  His excuses for same have been inadequate. More later.

Perlmutter and Ryan Frazier poll – Over at Ben Degrow’s blog, with detailed article.  Go there to see exciting results.  Other GOP candidates are good guys, but should in my opinion unite behind Ryan Frazier to oust Perlmutter.

Robert Ramirez, the sole Republican Candidate for House District 29 - just signed the CUT pledge and is one of the most impressive young Republican candidates out there.  He has a great shot at ridding Colorado of one of the most destructive Dems in the House, Debbie Bennefield.  My interview is here.

Ali Hasan, one of three GOP Treasurer Candidates Appears to have obtained a court sealing of his records involving a 2008 incident with Alison Miller – After hours of additional investigation I stand by my post that the answers I received from the court did not exactly square with a record sealing.  I’m giving Hasan the benefit of the doubt, however, on that one.  But Hasan could have made things a lot easier by admitting he sought and obtained a record sealing.  Instead, after showing poor judgment by jumping into a blog comment debate on Ben Degrow’s Mount Virtus, he decided to blab all over the place about his side of the case knowing an independent check on his claims was impossible.  He refused an off-blog request from me to confirm or deny a record sealing.

A record sealing is primarily for an individual  wishing to claim that he never had any charges made against him, or to cease any discussion of same – not for someone whose charges have been all over the media and who wants to discuss his side without the other side being able to refute or even fact-check the sealed record.  A record sealing requires a special motion by the party’s attorney,  and is not part of the natural “order” of things as claimed by Hasan in his postings.

Regardless.  I care far less about that than about his refusal to discuss valid issues about the ideal investment portfolio for Colorado’s money.

Both Hurlbert and Hasan have also still left open the question about Mark Hurlbert’s decision to handle his friend and political supporter’s case himself instead of assigning it to a special prosecutor.  Notably, as Don Johnson pointed out, Hasan claims he didn’t know if Hurlbert was investigating his case or not, though reportedly his mother knew and accurately predicted Hurlbert would exonerate her son.

Even more notable, is Hasan and Hurlbert’s failure to deny that a special prosecutor would have been appropriate.  Call it “investigation,” “evaluation” what have you, Hurlbert had the ball in his court and decided not to file charges, rather than avoiding any appearance of impropriety by passing the case off to a special prosecutor.   Supporting links to all of this are in the embedded article here.

Hurlbert brings in a special prosecutor when his wife, attorney Cathy Cheroutes, handles cases in the Fifth District.  He just calls  in a DA from Glenwood Springs or other neighboring jurisdiction and does not allow even a junior deputy to handle a case where she is the defense attorney.  It’s no big deal, and it’s the right thing to do.  If  I am incorrect about this, I would assume someone would have pointed it out, but no one has.

I’m done with the Hurlbert-Hasan issue.  The state Assembly is a month away and Hurlbert’s barely spoken out about any issues at all.  I’ll be trying to change that by giving him a list of questions, in the same way that Don Johnson did so masterfully with Ken Buck.  Ali Hasan has provided enough material on the issues and his background that voters should be easily able to determine the best candidate in the Treasurer’s race.

Donald E.L. Johnson Adds Ex-Pat Ex-Lawyer to businessword Blog Roll

The Donald E.L. Johnson just let me know  he added Ex-Pat Ex-Lawyer to his blog roll at businessword (right between Drudge Report and Face the State).  I am thrilled, flattered, honored, name it, because Don is not only my favorite Colorado blogger, he’s one of my favorite bloggers in the country–a man who cross-examines politicians like a seasoned barrister with an Econ PhD in his prolific and comprehensive interviews.

I became acquainted with Don’s blog fairly recently (though it seems longer).  When I first read Don’s posts, I wondered, who is this guy that knows so much about economics and finance and questions candidates with follow-up after follow-up question until they relent with a straight answer, or wind up being called out as evaders of legitimate public inquiry?  Next, I noticed his links–they’re a modern-day cyber-library for anyone wanting to do economic, political, marketing and other research.

Then I read further, and learned Don’s a health care guru - someone who can cut through the bunk of this debate that has gone on so long and now ended so pathetically with Nancy Pelosi looking like she’s died and gone to heaven.  He served as the Editor of Modern Healthcare magazine for 10 years, and was critical in building that publication to become the leader in its field.

Don’s got a first-cut, post-mortem analysis he published this morning about this debacle of a bill.  Poignantly, the piece is entitled, “Watch health insurance premiums soar.”  (Ben Degrow has a helpful post on the many ways we can still fight and maybe get a repeal).

At first I thought Don’s focus was national, as I’ve rarely read anyone at the national level who can compete with his economics knowledge.  I explored his blog further and was delighted to see Don Johnson now focuses his immense talents on Colorado politics.

I also learned Don Johnson is an amazing note taker, and he attends substantive Colorado political events as frequently and religiously as the Chris Cooper character playing FBI spy Robert Hannsen attended church  in the film, Breach. He performs a great service for bloggers like me, who can then use that detailed, quality reporting to write broad riffs or op-ed style pieces.  He just scooped Lynn Bartels  on the recent Hickenlooper criticisms of Ritter by a full day.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Dem. Candidate for Governor, Criticizes Bill Ritter As Adversarial Prosecutor of Colorado Businesses -UPDATED

In an address to business executives at the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce today, Denver Mayor and Democrat gubernatorial candidate, John Hickenlooper, lambasted the anti-business climate created by lame-duck governor Bill Ritter’s prosecutorial, lawyer-like, adversarial attacks on business–calling them “crazy.”  Don Johnson at businessword has produced another masterfully comprehensive piece on a question-and-answer session that may contain the most substance of anything Hickenlooper has said on the issues since announcing his candidacy after fellow-Dem Ritter announced he would not seek a second term.

Not that we’re claiming to have influenced Hickenlooper’s pointed attack on his fellow Democrat, but on March 10, over a week before Hickenlooper’s statements, I posted this entry here:  Colo. Governor Bill Ritter Shows DA Roots:  Treats Amazon Like Criminal Defendant for Affiliate Move.

This post presented a critique of Ritter and the Dems’ anti-business rhetoric, including this demagogic quote from Ritter:

Amazon has taken a disappointing – and completely unjustified – step of ending its relationship with associates. While Amazon is blaming a new state law for its action, the fact is that Amazon is simply trying to avoid compliance with Colorado law and is unfairly punishing Colorado businesses in the process.

I sincerely doubt Hickenlooper reads our fledgling blog, but Don Johnson’s political and economic blog, businessword,  is one of the most influential in the state,  and in my view the smartest.  Don was generous to link to my post in his hammering of the internet tax and the Amazon reaction thereto, and liked the prosecutorial analogy.  And Hickenlooper is surely bright enough to read the articles of a writer like Johnson, who has posted 31 entries about Hick.  (My blog post was republished as an online article here.  And this blog entry was just published at the same online content provider earlier this evening).

The Donald E.L. Johnson piece deserves a full reading.  While Hickenlooper was hardly as forthcoming as conservatives would  like, he did, based on my read, seem to differentiate himself from many of the failed, anti-business policies of the current Democratic administration that controls all three branches of Colorado government.

Hickenlooper’s attorney/prosecutor critique is a fair one.   Ritter’s failed attempt to turn a 25-year prosecutorial career into a gubernatorial one follows in the wake of failed prosecutors around the country, such as Martha Coakley, Elliot Spitzer, Ken Salazar, Arlen Specter, and a host of others. Though there are exceptions (and maybe Ken Buck is one of them), career prosecutors have a tendency if they gain higher office, to enact more and more laws, and are conditioned from a life spent in courtrooms to finger-pointing, name-calling and throwing their substantial political-legal weight around–often capriciously, sometimes self-servingly.

Undoubtedly, if former Republican Congressman and prosecutor Scott McInnis follows his decisive caucus showing with a gubernatorial primary win in August, we can be sure Hickenlooper will continue the businessman vs. DA meme in the general election campaign. Moreover, given the political climate among conservatives and independents that favors business owners over career politicians, the anti-prosecutor/lawyer theme should also benefit candidates such as Republican state Senate District 16 candidate, Evergreen businessman Tim Leonard.

At the very least, GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams may need to stop calling Hickenlooper “Hickenritter” as he did in this video and this one, embedded and commented upon by Lynn Bartels at The Spot, the political blog for the Denver Post.

Update: Don Johnson writes this morning about Hickenlooper’s rebranding efforts yesterday, and views the tactic as an insincere effort to portray himself as a moderate, while McInnis and Maes waste time fighting each other.  Good read.