Category Archives: Colo. State Senate

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.


Colo. Republican State Senate Candidate Tim Leonard Continues Impressive Fundraising: Surpasses Democrat Opponent Jeanne Nicholson By Huge Margin

Tim Leonard, the Republican candidate for Colorado state Senate District 16, seized the

Tim Leonard with son Andrew, 11

momentum from his 71-29 percent May 21 State Assembly victory, and has turned in  another impressive grassroots  fundraising showing.  Leonard, a conservative/libertarian businessman from Evergreen, raised a total of $69,00o as of May 26,  according to June 1 campaign finance reports filed with the Secretary of State.  He raised more than any other Republican state Senate candidate in the previous four-month reporting period.

Leonard also used his contributors’ donations effectively, spending only about $12,000.   That leaves Leonard’s campaign with over $56,000 in cash on hand to use against his Democrat opponent.

Political watchers certainly expected Leonard to win a majority of delegates at the Assembly, but ousting his opponent was an upset that surprised even the Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels – arguably  Colorado’s savviest political writer.   How has Leonard’s campaign  managed such impressive results  while spending so little  in over five months of campaigning?  Leonard credits his large and well-organized team of volunteers, as well as cost-effective, conservative spending habits instilled as a small business owner.  And of course being on the right side of the issues helps too.

Tim Leonard’s fundraising shows broad support for the Republican state Senate candidate.   Leonard raised money from 333 donors, 122 of whom live in the district.  Leonard’s contributions also include $2,000 from the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners PAC.

With the post-Assembly ramp-up of  the campaign season, candidates are required to provide fundraising reports monthly instead of every four months.  The most recent reporting period is April 26 through May 26.  Leonard raised about $8,100 for this period from 53 donors, 33 of whom live in Senate District 16.

Leonard’s liberal Democrat opponent, Jeanne Nicholson, raised a respectable $7,400 in this same period, for a total of $14,245.  Nicholson is a Gilpin County Commissioner, who lives in

Democrat SD 16 Candidate, Jeanne Nicholson

Black Hawk.

Nicholson’s contributions came from about 15o donors,  with roughly 40 percent from people who live in the district.  Many contributors are teachers, health care workers, and government employees.   Nicholson also raised $1,000 from a Democrat small donor PAC. Though she has only $9,300 in cash remaining, this will change soon as the Democrat war chest and 527 groups kick in as anticipated and lavish Nicholson’s campaign with financial assistance. Nicholson did not face a Democrat Assembly opponent.

Tim Leonard’s Republican Assembly opponent, Mark Hurlbert,  failed to make the primary ballot after garnering only 29 percent of the delegate votes.  Hurlbert is the Eagle County district attorney, best known for prosecuting L.A. Lakers basketball star, Kobe Bryant, for sexual assault charges.  The case was eventually dismissed.

Hurlbert made a stealth, 11th hour attempt to petition on the ballot –  ExPat ExLawyer broke the story.  He is the only Republican who participated in the Assembly to try the petition route. Even Hurlbert’s supporters, including state Senator Al White (R-Hayden), with whom I spoke, think Hurlbert’s signature-gathering effort will fall short.

Hurlbert’s campaign has been “lazy and complacent,” according to a knowledgable GOP official who commented off-the-record.  He raised only $10,200 through April 25, compared to

Senate District 16 inlcudes all of Summit, Clear Creek, Grand and Gilpin Counties. It also includes portions of Boulder and Jefferson counties, with the largest number of voters in the foothills and mountains of Jefferson, centered in Evergreen

Leonard’s $62,000.   Hurlbert obtained about $5,100 this past month – mostly from Denver party insiders like Pete Coors, Hank Brown and Jordon Perlmutter, but spent $5,900.   And at least $3,000 went to paid signature collectors.

Most telling, only 17 of Hurlbert’s contributors live in the district.  This should dispel the notion held by supporters such as state Senator Josh Penry, who recruited Hurlbert to run and now manages Jane Norton’s U.S. Senate campaign, that Hurlbert would bring home the frozen bacon from his home base of  Summit County.  Perhaps people from other parts of Colorado mistook the lack of critical coverage of Hurlbert in the local media as a sign of popularity.

Political analysts consider  Senate District 16 a must-win for Republicans to regain control of the state Senate from the Democrats, who hold a 21-14 majority.  Democrat Dan Gibbs now holds the seat, but is not running, and is instead seeking a Summit County Commission slot.  The lack of an incumbent, combined with Democrat fiscal mismanagement nationally and in Colorado,   provides the perfect storm for Tim Leonard.

DA Mark Hurlbert Quietly Initiates 11th Hour Petition Campaign for State Senate; Uses DA Second-in-Command to Collect Signatures UPDATED 5-26 – DP’s Bartels Picks Up ExPat Story; DA Turner Not Listed in New Petition Drive Email

DA Mark Hurlbert, denied an automatic spot on the Republican state Senate ballot after getting

DA Mark Hurlbert - at the Frisco Safeway today, 3-6 (Getty Images Photo)

beaten by Tim Leonard in a 71 to 29 percent defeat,  is now trying to petition on the August primary ballot in an unusual behind-the-scenes effort.  In an email to at least 400 possible supporters/spam recipients, Hurlbert appeared to be reaching out to home town Summit County Republicans with a call to come by the Frisco Safeway store to sign his petition between 3-6 today and yesterday.  The email is aptly titled, “Mark Hurlbert needs your help.”

All other candidates seeking to petition on the Republican primary ballot have announced their intentions publicly through the media.  And they did so primarily to gain as much publicity as possible for their petition drives.  I can only speculate, but in yet another misguided effort in an inept campaign, Hurlbert may have thought if he failed to gain the needed signatures, he could pretend to the public that he never sought the petition route at all, and had instead bowed out gracefully from the race.

Unfortunately for these potential supporters/spam recipients,  Hurlbert failed to blind copy his email list and instead published the names of the  people he sent his email to in an open copy listing all recipients and their email addresses.  To make matters worse, Hurlbert’s email directs recipients to his own second-in-command at the DA’s office, Assistant District Attorney Scott Turner, as one of his two point persons for those wishing to take up the signature-collection cause.   Just as former Colorado Governor Bill Owens appointed Hurlbert DA when his boss moved on to higher office, it would not be a stretch to suggest Scott Turner would be appointed DA by Hurlbert’s kindred spirit,  former career DA Bill Ritter, were Hurlbert to cut short his term as DA by winning the state Senate.

I spoke with Turner, whose cell phone number is listed on the email, late in the night on the 24th.  Turner stated after much cross examination that he would not be conducting such political business for his  boss during DA working hours.  Hurlbert’s blast email, however, puts no such restrictions on the contact time, and in fact announces that if a person can’t meet Hurlbert at the Frisco Safeway between 3-6, “give one of us a call and we will come to you.”  Talk about customer service!

UPDATE: 5-26 – 3:00 p.m. – New Hurlbert petition email removes mention of  ADA Scott Turner. Today I received a new email forwarded to me that Hurlbert appeared to send out at about 9:00 p.m. last night.  The email reveals Hurlbert is now on his own in spearheading the signature collection efforts and he seems to have seen the writing on the wall about the impropriety of using his second-in-command at the DA’s office for the petition effort.  The email is entitled, “The Last 38 Hours,” and all inquiries are now addressed to him, and ADA Scott Turner’s name is not mentioned.  Hurlbert acknowledges the mistake in failing to blind copy the recipients in the May 24 email:

“I also wish to apologize for putting all your e-mails in the “to” line so they could be seen.  I was unfortunately tired and not thinking.”

Still,  Hurlbert shows more lack of attention to detail in this latest signature-gathering effort when he  leaves off one of the digits in his cell phone contact number. Earlier in the campaign, his business cards had his own name spelled incorrectly in his email address.

UPDATE: 5-26 – 2:30 p.m. – Lynn Bartels, the DP’s top political writer at The Spot blog, picked up the story from me and kindly linked to Ex-Pat Ex-Lawyer.  Bartels interviewed Hurlbert, who pretended as if he was doing an official announcement of the petition effort, ignoring the stealth effort we pointed out here.  In the Bartels piece, Hurlbert maintains despite his 71-29 percent assembly defeat, he felt compelled to petition on the ballot because he claims his gun rights position was distorted by a gun rights group mailing.  The mailing simply stated that Hurlbert failed to answer their survey about his specific Second Amendment views.  They tried twice to get him to answer, including sending it certified mail.

Based on those non-responses and the absence of any record of  Second Amendment support, the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners logically concluded Hurlbert was not a strong  supporter.  Hurlbert’s views are not in writing anywhere, and no mention is made of the issue on his campaign website.   Tim Leonard has always stated his strong support for gun rights on his website, and promptly answered the survey to the RMGO’s satisfaction.  They endorsed Leonard and opposed Hurlbert.

Ironically, Hurlbert failed to use this ideal opportunity with Bartels to say exactly what his views are on gun rights, making it even more obvious that this gun rights “distortion” is a pretext for his unwillingness to face the reality of not just the assembly results, but his inability to bring in even less conservative Republicans aboard his campaign as either volunteers or contributors.

And Hurlbert had this same cavalier attitude about signing the taxpayer protection, CUT pledge.  He took over three months to fulfill that promise, despite continual reminders.   A party activist who holds a leadership position and is sympathetic to Hurlbert, nevertheless told me that he has to take these obligations seriously if he expects to be a viable candidate.

Hurlbert used a particularly inapt analogy for 2010, but a revealing one for this career prosecutor:

“It’s like a court case,” Hurlbert said today. “If you’re not happy with the result you appeal, so I’m appealing to the people.”

For the former Kobe Bryant prosecutor,  everything is like a court case and probably always will be.  But an appeal usually has a cost,  though as a government lawyer he could freely use tax dollars to pay for an appeal of anything he’s “not happy with.”   Hurlbert has the perfect legal right under Colorado law to petition. But his disingenuousness and stealth techniques should assure the assembly delegates and other Republicans that the Assembly put the right candidate on the ballot.]

Absent  further action by Hurlbert, most Republicans assumed he would not seek to petition on the ballot.  Hurlbert  must collect 1,000 verified registered Republican signatures by May 27. Experts say to be safe, he would need to collect a total of 2,000 signatures.

I’m not a DA charged with important matters like homicides, or protecting the identity of rape victims or anything, but I do know the difference between “cc” and “bcc” and won’t be so irresponsible as to embarrass those who are on Hurlbert’s email list by publishing the names of the recipients.

I will mention a couple, though.  One name that stands out  helps confirm what we’ve been saying about Hurlbert’s suspect conservative credentials since he announced his candidacy in January. Norman Brownstein is the lead partner in the liberal Democrat law firm in which popular (but Dem) Boulder DA and AG candidate, Stan Garnett, was a partner.  Brownstein’s contribution recipients include Christopher Dodd, Bill Richardson, and Hillary Clinton – something that probably made RINO Hurlbert feel right at home.

Hurlbert’s wife, Cathy Cheroutes, comes from a liberal, activist Democrat legal clan that contributed roughly one-third of Hurlbert’s meagre $10,200 in reported fundraising.  They’re on the list.  So is Summit County party chair Debra Irvine, a seemingly campaign-free, stealth  “candidate” for House District 56 .  I was surprised to see her name here since Hurlbert has aligned himself so often with her Democrat opponent, incumbent Christine Scanlan, and also because party chairpersons are supposed to stay neutral.

I was not surprised, though, by this desperate petition drive.  Hurlbert has never held a job in the private sector and has made it obvious that he wants no part of having to fend for himself in a market-based economy.  Word up in gossipy Summit County is that District Court Judge Terry Ruckriegle is holding off on a his retirement timing to see if Hurlbert needs his judicial post to hang onto that PERA pension.

Ali Hasan Ends Colo. Treasurer Bid – Will Not Attempt Ballot Petition; Mark Hurlbert Should Follow Suit in Senate District 16

Ali Hasan, a Republican  candidate for Colorado Treasurer, just announced on his website that he will not seek to petition his way on the August primary ballot.  Hasan’s  announcement follows a stunning loss at yesterday’s Colorado Republican State Assembly, where J.J. Ament won 79 percent of the vote and Hasan only 20 percent.  By failing to win at least 30 percent, Hasan was out of the race unless he chose to pursue a petition signature path.

Hasan stated he  is “against” the petition option:

From the start of the campaign, we committed to the Assembly process.

And while a substantial amount of delegates gave us their support, we were still short of qualifying – with that said, I am a man of my word – I respect the decision of our good activists and we end our campaign here

Hasan should be applauded not only for making the right decision for the GOP and for Colorado, but by deciding quickly.  With the huge and enthusiastic turnout for the Assembly, that momentum should not be wasted in further intra-party skirmishes.

Hasan did not mention in his statement whether he would be endorsing either of his Treasurer race rivals, J.J. Ament or Walker Stapleton (who did not participate in the Assembly and is petitioning on the ballot).  Hasan noted, however,  “I look forward to helping our State Senate and House candidates win back Colorado in 2010 – and I’m really really looking forward to getting back to film directing.”

State Senate District 16 candidate, DA Mark Hurlbert,  should follow his friend’s lead after his crushing loss in that race to Tim Leonard at Friday’s District Assembly.  Leonard defeated Hurlbert by 71 percent to 29 percent,  which could free up Leonard to devote his energy and resources to beating Democrat Jeanne Nicholson, a Gilpin County Commissioner.

Some of Hurlbert’s  supporters argue that he is more “electable” in November.  At best,  this theory is based on a 2008 notion of electability, and 2010 is a very different year.  The conservative base is wildly motivated, as the grassroots assembly sweep amply demonstrates. Hurlbert’s poor showing is in part a grassroots reaction against party leaders’ attempts to handpick candidates.

Still, a petition-based challenge  would be fair enough had Hurlbert demonstrated some sort of significant support base of his own outside the conservative delegate majority with which to challenge Leonard.  But Hurlbert did not.  He ran a listless campaign that generated few volunteers and paltry fundraising.  Significantly, he found little support within the district, obtaining only nine campaign contributions in over three months of campaigning (Leonard received 89).

While Leonard raised more funds in the most recent quarter than any other GOP state Senate candidate in Colorado, generating 280 contributions and over $65,000 raised to date,  Hurlbert managed only $10,200 and a total of 39 contributors.  Of that total, $2,000 came from Ali Hasan and four of his family members-making up almost 20 percent of Hurlbert’s total fundraising.  Another $3,200 came from members of Hurlbert’s extended family.  Deducting those donors, leaves Hurlbert with only $5,000 cash raised from 27 separate donors.

For the sake of the great shot Republicans have to regain control of the state Senate with a victory in this crucial district,  Mark Hurlbert should promptly call it quits, and unite behind Tim Leonard.

TIM LEONARD WINS SD 16 WITH 71%- KEEPS DA MARK HURLBERT OFF BALLOT-Live Blogging From Dist. Assembly: Multi-County House and Senate; Cong. Districts 2,3,4,5 and 6

Live blogging.  Tim Leonard takes 71% of Assembly vote; ousts  prosecutor, Mark Hurlbert from Gop Ballot.

Tim Leonard Supporters Celebrate (Photo-Lynn Bartels, Denver Post)

Ex-Pat Ex-Lawyer will be live blogging from reports received from people attending the District Assembly today.  We’ll do a separate, live-blog post for the State Assembly tomorrow.

Please Email in any Reports and pictures to or Leave Comments -You can also Tweet me @ ExPatExLawyer

Schedule:  9:-10 – GOP State Central Committee Mtg.

10:00 – Multi Dist.House Assemblies.  HD 13, HD 33, HD 40, HD 56, HD 60, HD 61, HD 62, HD 63, HD 65.

11:30 – Multi-County Senate Dist. Assemblies – The big contested race here is Senate District 16, an open seat as popular Dem incumbent Dan Gibbs is not seeking re-election. Tim Leonard dominated DA Mark Hurlbert in fundraising and just won (1:00 p.m.) with 71%, keeps “moderate” mountain bike prosecutor off ballot .  Other Senate Districts are SD1, SD2. and SD5.  SD 5 presents delegates with Republicans  Bob Rankin and Wayne Wolf battling it out to challenge Dem incumbent Gail Schwartz.  Degrow calls this one a toss-up, with a slight edge for a Dem hold. Update: Greg Brophy reports Rankin takes sole ballot spot with 82% of delegate votes.

Ben has this to say about SD 2:

A field of three Republicans — Kevin Grantham, Matt Heimerich and Talon Canterbury — has lined up to fill the shoes of the GOP’s retiring state senator Ken Kester. Right now, any of them looks like better odds than the two late-entry Democrats Gloria Stultz and John Webb, neither of whom has reported raising a dime. Likely GOP hold

1:00 – Multi County House Dist. 47 and 64 Assemblies – Republican candidates in these two races have no primary opponents.  In 47 Keith Swerdfeger has two Dem opponents.  The seat is currently Dem, but Ben Degrow calls it leaning GOP pickup.  In Dist. 64, Lisa Grace Kellog takes on incumbent Dem.  Wes McKinley. Ben calls this leans Dem hold.

2:00 – Cong. Dist. 2,3,4 and 5 Assemblies – The 4th Dist. pits Cory Gardner against Tom Lucero.

3:00- Cong. Dist. 6 Assembly

UPDATE – 11:00 a.m. Marty Neilson, CUT President and GOP SD 16 Chair –says she hasn’t seen this much enthusiasm among Colorado Republicans since the 1980s!  Wow!

Sen. Greg Brophy reports that in HD 63,  Jon Becker wonn the nomination with enough delegate votes to keep the others off the ballot.

Lynn Bartels reports as if she too has never seen this many Republicans in one place:

The hotel hallways in outside the meeting rooms are so packed it’s difficult to walk along and check out candidate tables. Think Target the day after Thanksgiving.

UPDATE 11:35 a.m:  Reclaim the Blue’s Al Maurersays it’s a “zoo.” Al just found a place to sit down and type:

I didn’t expect to see a whole lot going on at the District Assembly today in Loveland. Boy, was I wrong. The state races are not until tomorrow but all the candidates are here today with tables, signs and supporters in campaign t-shirts. I have a Dan Maes t-shirt in my bag–I’m not really a t-shirt kind of guy–and am sporting my People’s Press Collective “credentials.”

I just mat a lady from Elbert County who said this is the first time in her life when she’s met in person all the people she can vote for. What an awesome testament to the level of political activity this year.

There are also some conservative organizations present, such as the Rocky mountain Gun Owners who have recently won the right for concealed carry on Colorado campuses.

We’re also spreading The Constitutionalist Today to people from throughout the state. There is a tremendous hunger for information  that the established media are not filling. I saw one guy with a big, professional-looking video camera walking past with Dick Wadhams, but other than that I haven’t seen them in evidence. I’ve got my flip cam, though.

Gotta love those comments about the cumbersome, old-school MSM.  That’s why I call Lynn Bartels a blogger.  Bloggers are agile and resourceful.

UPDATE: Al Maurer previously tweeted that Ali Hasan has four golf carts on hand to shuttle people around.  Al observes, “nice gesture, but where’s all his money coming from.”  I would assume it’s from the usual place, mommy and daddy.

Sen. Greg Brophy – won with 100 percent and en route to re-election in November.

Greg Brophy Tweets: “Superstar Senate candidate Bob Rankin w/ 82% at assembly on to wipe out Gayle Schwartz in SD5.”

Al Maurer – Says crowd and grassroots participation is extraordinary.  Lots of new faces.  He mentioned a brand new tea party organizer that just started up an Elbert County tea party group.  She told Al they had 41 attendees at the first meeting, and 250 at the next meeting.

Marty Neilson reports at 1:35 p.m. – Ken Buck has a big presence in Room 502 at Embassy Suites.  She also said Tim Leonard had a huge group of supporters, with lots of volunteers celebrating wildly.  Leonard won the 71% needed to oust Hurlbert by two votes, according to Tim Leonard. Both candidates gave excellent acceptance speeches.  Leonard’s nomination was made by Elena Campbell and seconded by Tom Tancredo. Sen. Al White, nominated Hurlbert. Considered the most liberal member of the GOP, White was an early endorser of Hurlbert, an endorsement quickly scrubbed off Hurlbert’s  Facebook page, as noted in this Hitler video spoof.

Al Maurer reports 1:40 – possible linkage between McInnis and Joe G. gubernatorial campaigns.  Somehow, Joe G. got a copy of the delegate list under the table, a no-no.  Then, delegates were called by the same phone service used by Scott McInnis.  It’s been said it’s to McInnis’ advantage to split the anti-establishment vote between Dan Maes and Joe G. and to have all three make the August primary ballot.  Intriguing.

Lynn Bartels at 2:34 – posts about Tim Leonard’s win over DA Mark Hurlbert.  Hurlbert said he’s not sure if he’ll try to petition on or not.  He and Al White claim he’s the most electable in November.  That’s hard to believe given that in four months of campaigning he only managed to find 9 contributors in the entire district.  Leonard had 89 in the district, and 280 donors total.  Leonard raised more money this past quarter than any other GOP senate candidate.

Ali Hasan and his family contributed about 20% of the $10,200 Hurlbert raised.  Hurlbert accepted

Scott Robinson: Legal expert says Hasan case should "raise eyebrows"

the Hasan money despite having investigated Hasan on possible criminal charges in 2008 – a move that creates an appearance of impropriety and “certainly raises eyebrows,” according to noted Colorado criminal attorney, Scott Robinson.

Al White said he could use Hurlbert’s help in the senate.  No doubt Hurlbert would provide it too.  If elected he would make White the second most liberal GOP member of the senate.  Both men seem to think it’s 2008.  Hurlbert’s record of raising budgets and lobbying to raise his own pay 37.5 percent over two years during the recession, won’t draw fiscal conservatives.

Besides,  Hurlbert’s authoritarian views on medicinal marijuana, and his recent inexplicable felony prosecution of a pair of cheating women mountain bike racers in Leadville,  will hurt him with independents and Democrats.   Seemingly oblivious to public will in the matter, Hurlbert was roundly criticized throughout Colorado, nationally, and even in the Denver Post and Vail Daily editorial pages for this  money wasting prosecutorial overreach that he continues to pursue.

Congressional Races

Greg Brophy – tweets at about CD4 at 3:30p.m. – “Lucero gave the weakest speech I’ve seen; couldn’t have earned a vote for dog catcher with that weak stuff.”  Brophy further reports that Buck’s speech was very well received, and Mcinnis was well received.  Brophy calls Cory Gardner’s speech one of the best he’s ever seen. Called out Prez O big time.

Don Johnson is live blogging CD-4 on his businessword blog. He’s a master at this, with his stacatto, Hemmingwayesque prose, and has all sorts of good quotes. Don agrees with Brophy about Cory Gardner’s speech, saying it’s the “best I’ve heard all year on the campaign trail.”

Al Maurer – Reporting from CD-5 notes, with amusement, that frequent anti-Buck blog commenter, Cheri Offner is sitting in fron row.  Jane Norton is there too -as a delegate, she said “when confronted by an activist unhappy with her choice to petition on.”

4:20 p.m.  A.G. John Suthers just spoke about states’ rights to rousing applause.

Cory Gardner wins CD-4 – 5:30 Greg Brophy reports the votes:  Gardner 359, Lucero 110, Medere 123.  Cory gains sole GOP ballot spot.

On The Campaign Trail – Not at Assembly

Danny Stroud – GOP candidate for Denver’s HD 1 already gained his nomination at the local Assembly.  He reports he’ll ride his Harley tomorrow to the State Assembly, but today he’s campaigning in his district.

Colo. Campaign Links May 10-16: Leonard, Hill, Odom; Roberts or Boehler – Likely GOP Senate Pickups; House Pickup Possibles; Frazier vs. Sias; Buck vs. Norton: Buck Calls Palin Speech “Rude” – UPDATED 5-18 on Buck-Palin Scuffle

Colorado’s State Senate 21-14 Dem Majority could switch with four probable GOP pickups –writes Ben Degrow at Mt Virtus.  Ben’s  order of likelihood:  Senate District 6, 16, 20, and 11. Much of the following analysis is mine and not necessarily written by Ben.

1. SD 6- Durango, Montrose.  Rep.  Ellen Roberts or conservative upstart Dean Boehler will oust appointed “Sen. One-year,” Bruce Whitehead.  2.  SD 16Tim Leonard of Evergreen topped all GOP state Senate candidates in fundraising, faces MIA primary opposition from career DA Mark Hurlbert of Breckenridge, and will confront a relatively unknown lib Dem County Commissioner from tiny Gilpin County, Jeanne Nicholson,  in the general.

3.  SD 20 in Jefferson County showcases John Odom sitting on $50k with no primary and two Dems without much dinero facing off.  4. SD 11 in Colorado Springs is fortunate to have gained Owen Hill as a bright young talent, with a jaw dropping resume, and a campaign that just keeps gaining momentum.  Owen was second in fundraising, and has close to $30k in the bank.  Hill’s donations came from over 200 contributors.   He’s poised to oust Dem disaster, Maj. Leader John Morse. Hill’s Airforce and strategic planning background will be put to the test once Dem war chest deployed.

Ben Degrow has lots of links and more analysis of these and all the other state Senate races.   Visualize 18-17 GOP majority after November.  A must read.

Colo. House  Analysis – Ben Degrow predicts “tiny edge” for GOP House Majority. Ben analyzes every race and notes the GOP is going for the gusto in 64 out of 65 house districts.  I’m a tiny bit more bullish than my seasoned and savvy colleague.  Two of my personal newcomer favorites, who face tough Dem incumbents, have been using their private sector backgrounds to work hard and connect with all sorts of voters that in the past might have gone knee-jerk Dem. So I will give an edge, with no modifier about how big the edge is, to  Robert Ramirez in north Jeffco’s HD 29 and Danny Stroud in Denver’s HD Number 1.  I interviewed Ramirez in April and look forward to publishing an interview with smart, creative and articulate Danny Stroud soon.  Both are limited government, pro-Constitution conservatives who’ve signed the CUT pledge.

Frazier-Sias Cong. Dist. 7 Campaign Gets Testy – Businessword’s Don Johnson and Ben Degrow have been all over this one.  First it was Lang Sias supporters whining about Ryan Frazier missing a chunk of Aurora City Council meetings.  Yawn.

Sias vs. Frazier

If  Frazier had an obsessive attendance record we should be concerned both about his intelligence and his sanity.  Don Johnson notes that Frazier supporters could point to Sias’ day job as a FedEx pilot that keeps him out of town a couple of weeks a month.  That could certainly impede a full-time Congressional campaign against Dem incumbent Ed Perlmutter.

Then there’s Bob Beauprez’s enigmatic endorsement of Sias.  Ben Degrow is all over this one (are these guys playing tag team?).  Don Johnson notes that Sias may be milking the defamatory smear email he received for a heck of a lot more than it’s worth.  Maybe even milking it so much as to imply a linkage to the Frazier campaign.  Finally, Ben Degrow has some great coverage of  Lang Sias’ upcoming DC fundraiser with guest of honor, John McCain.

Norton Gets Palin “Pink Elephant” Endorsement (sort of); Buck’s Budgets Praised by Weld Commissioners – Curtis Hubbard at The Spot cited a WSJ Washington Wire piece where Palin “tiptoes” into the Colorado U.S.  Senate race  by including Jane Norton among her herd of pink elephants.  “Look out, Washington,” Palin said. “There’s a whole stampede of pink elephants” coming this November.  Other GOP women Palin mentioned include California’s Carly Fiorini who will be taking on a vulnerable Barbara Boxer should Fiorini win the primary.  Sarah Palin will be speaking in Denver on May 22.  Norton will be free to attend Palin’s speech, as she is skipping the state assembly taking place the same day, and will instead petition her way onto the primary ballot.

[Breaking News: Allison Sherry at The Spot reports  late 5-17 Ken Buck said Sarah Palin speaking during the Assembly would be “rude.” Updated: 5-18 – The DP’s Chuck Plunkett reports Palin speech in the works since last November, long before Norton’s bid to skip the assembly, and not in the least bit “rude.”  Allison Sherry also has a new and expanded piece on the topic. Finally, Allison Sherry reports new poll numbers showing narrowing gap between Buck and Norton.  One thing beyond debate, Allison Sherry is one busy reporter.

Was it an endorsement?   Don Johnson thinks it’s “pretty close,” and so do I given the timing of Palin’s stopover in Colorado.

Norton’s GOP Senate rival, Weld County DA Ken Buck, got an endorsement of sorts of his own this past week – from Weld County’s Commissioners.   A little background.  In March, I did some work collecting the DA budgets of Ken Buck and  Mark Hurlbert, and observed that Hurlbert’s had gone up every year, including during the recession, yet case filings had gone down as a result of reduced population and visitor numbers in the mountain resort counties in Hurlbert’s district.

Don Johnson noted, based on my article and the links to the budgets, that Buck’s budgets had increased too and wondered why.   I had Hurlbert’s case filing data, but not Buck’s.  Shortly thereafter, Don interviewed Ken Buck and also did his own analysis of Buck’s budgets.   Johnson concluded they seemed reasonable given the population increases.   He also concluded Buck seemed to spend the funds wisely in succesful efforts to reduce crime.

Nevertheless,  the Norton campaign still tried to use the raw budget data as some evidence that Buck was not a fiscal conservative.  Now, according to The Spot,  the Weld County Commissioners have publicly pointed out the same thing Don Johnson had already concluded.

DA Hurlbert’s  Latest Big Government Legal  Folly Garner’s National Audience for Ex-Pat Ex-Lawyer – Reason Magazine’s Radley Balko posted our story on Hurlbert’s novel felony criminal law incursion on cheating in middle-aged, female, amateur mountain bike racing, at his popular blog, The Agitator. Radley’s link,  as well as  links from many other blogs, including Paterrico and Colorado mountain biking blogs,  provided around 6,000 reads for this story.  Even the normally Hurlbert-compliant Denver Post published an editorial this past weekend criticising Hurlbert.

Hurlbert’s  gratuitous and politically tone-deaf  legal misadventure followed his taking two straight weeks off out-of-state in April, right before the fundraising deadline.   Now,  even the really compliant hometown Summit Daily has reported on Hurlbert’s  weak  campaign fundraising (which was  reported here first, in more detail).  Read Hurlbert’s own quotes and see how much they sound like something  Bill Ritter would say.

DA Hurlbert Hints Mountain Bike Racers Don’t Deserve Felony or Jail in Leadville 100 Number Swap: UPDATE 5-13 – Race Organizer Chlouber Wants Criminal Charges Dropped, Says Settlement in Works

In the face of mounting criticism of his May 8 decision to file felony criminal impersonation charges against two Colorado  mountain bike racers for swapping numbers at a Leadville race last year,

DA Mark Hurlbert

DA Hurlbert nows says it is unlikely the two women would go to jail or face a felony conviction.  It also looks like a settlement is in the works and could be announced as early as today.

Hurlbert charged Wendy Lyall, 36, who competed in the women’s 40-49 division of the race, with one count of felony criminal impersonation.  She is due to appear in Lake County Court at 11:30 on May 24.

Her friend, Katie Brazelton, who allegedly gave her non-refundable racing packet to Lyall because she was injured and could not compete, has not yet been charged. Update: 5-12, 11:30 a.m. – The court clerk just notified me that Hurlbert has charged Brazelton with one count of feloncy conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation.  She is due in court on June 7.

Mark Hurlbert is the controversial prosecutor of L.A. Lakers’ basketball star, Kobe Bryant. After a failed bid to extend his term limits as DA, he is now a Colorado state Senate candidate for District 16, shown in this map.  Hurlbert, ironically, is competing for the Republican nomination against an avid endurance road cyclist, conservative/libertarian businessman, Tim Leonard of Evergreen.  Update: 5-12, 11:30 a.m. See today’s lead article in the Summit Daily, on this campaign.  Hurlbert lies and says Leonard was in the race three months longer than him as a pathetic excuse for Leonard whipping him in fundraising.  Try three weeks in the applicable quarter.  Lots of other stupid quotes too.

Given Hurlbert now admits that a felony conviction is unlikely and jail unmerited, why did he go ahead and charge the felony to begin with? Though he probably doesn’t care, Hurlbert certainly knows that the mere charging of a  felony is likely to ruin a person’s life.  Here’s his answer:

We were looking at the laws, and this was the only crime that was a fit.  That doesn’t mean they will be convicted of a felony.

A prosecutor has a sworn ethical obligation, though, not to merely seek a conviction, but to act in the best interest of justice on behalf of ” The People of the State of Colorado.”   It would seem charging an individual with a crime that is admittedly overkill just because later he can leverage it to force a misdemeanor plea bargain, fails this ethics test.

And these life-shattering concerns are not just theoretical.  Before even being charged, Katie Brazelton has reportedly already lost her job as a private school teacher in Vail.  I learned from Google that Brazelton was the Development Director for  SOS Outreach, which according to their website is the “country’s largest winter and summer sports-based youth development charity.”  But when I opened the link, no Katie.  SOS erased Brazelton’s sordid presence from their website as soon as Hurlbert threatened to file, as I discovered from this cached copy Google captured just two days before.

Here’s SOS’ description of Katie Brazelton’s achievements and work:

Katie started her work with SOS as a curriculum consultant during the summer of 2009. She has lived in the Vail Valley since 2004 and worked in educational administrative roles at both a private school and the non-profit world.  She received her undergraduate in 1991 in education from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and in 2005 completed her Master’s Degree in School Administration. Katie values her time in assisting with the development of programs that provide underprivileged youth with life-long skills and opportunities.

Well, thankfully, Mark Hurlbert stopped Brazelton dead her in her tracks before she continued with any more activities like this.  We can all sleep better at night now.  I don’t know any details about Wendy Lyall, other than everyone seems to like her, she has never committed any crimes, and she’s extremely fit.  And now she’s been charged with a felony.

Interview with Race Organizer Ken Chlouber

Lake County Sheriff Ed Holte promptly responded to my open records act request, and we are the  first to report on the investigation.  It began on March 2, 2010, when  race organizer Ken Chlouber wrote a letter to the Sheriff outlining concerns he’d confirmed from a tip that “two women had lied, cheated and stolen by fraudulently exchanging identities for entry”  into the race.  Chlouber’s letter sets out the

Ken Chlouber - Leadville 100 Race President

possibilities of how the women could have gotten through the identification procedures, and closes with a request for prosecution on theft of services for the $250 in race fees, $225 in awards, plus racer services, including aid stations, security, and a pre-race banquet.

It seems to me that adding in both the race fee and the services provided to racers would be double-counting. On the other hand, Chlouber sounds like he has a better handle on what law might “fit” than Hurlbert. I read the theft of services statute (CRS 18-4-401), and as long as the value of the property taken by “deception” is less than $1,000,  it’s a misdemeanor.

Chlouber writes, “the integrity of the race results was extremely damaged.”  Yet, those results couldn’t be clearer now.  He calls the actions of the two women “disgusting beyond comprehension.”  I’ve seen a lot worse.  Chlouber says, “the two women riders that rightfully should have accepted 2nd and 3rd will never have that moment [on the podium].”  But Chlouber himself devised a solution to this problem by staging a special awards ceremony for them this August.  Undoubtedly they’ll get plenty of spotlight after this debacle.

In short, most if not all the concerns expressed by Chlouber to the Sheriff in March have been rectified.  And the message of deterrence Chlouber wants to send already got delivered loud and clear to the women involved, and to racers throughout the country.

Settlement Discussions Already Underway

Sheriff Holte then passed along the case to the DA in April,  and notably Holte did not recommend charging Brazelton, only Lyall.  Chlouber was adamant in speaking with me that he never wanted jail time for either woman and certainly didn’t want felony charges.   He hadn’t even considered the possibility of a felony “until Hurlbert came out with these charges.” Chlouber also told me it was “overblown” to charge a felony.

According to Chlouber,  negotiations are underway and took place yesterday between DA Hurlbert and the parties.  Chlouber anticipates the case might settle as early as today, and predicted it will settle for something relatively minor,  with no jail time.

What would Chlouber like to see happen?   He wants a written apology to the two displaced racers and a full explanation of the mechanics of how the identity swap occurred.  He wants to know who was up there on the podium receiving the coveted awards, and if it was Lyall,  was Katie sitting in the stands watching?   He wants to know whether Lyall used Brazelton’s I.D., or whether Brazelton entered with her own I.D., and later provided the racer wrist band and bike numbers to Lyall.  He wasn’t completely clear whether he wants a criminal charge.

Update: 5-13- Ken Chlouber would like to see criminal charges dropped if the disclosure and apology conditions are met, and he believes Hurlbert will agree to same.  More details in a comment I posted on Ken Chlouber’s behalf.

Chlouber rejected the suggestion he said some have made for Lyall and Brazelton to appear at the 2010 event ceremony and perform a public mea culpa for the spectators, calling such a spectacle a humiliating “public flogging.”  He also doesn’t want to see heavy fines or “doing something to them worse than what they’ve already done to themselves.”

Laura Victoria’s Verdict

Given the sanctions uniquely available within competitive sports for rules violations, the criminal law is out of place except in rare circumstances, such as a boxer biting off an opponent’s ear.   Chlouber himself has already used his role as race president to rectify most of his concerns.  So I think Chlouber’s remaining concerns are exaggerated, though he seems sincere, even passionate.

But it is precisely the role of the DA to look objectively at the facts,  and divorce himself from the emotion any alleged victim might genuinely feel.   In addition, a  prosecutor needs to do more than scour the criminal code to see if some square peg behavior might “fit” into a round legal hole.  He needs to decide if that “fit” is a just one for all concerned, including the accused and the taxpayers.

Prosecutorial pursuits must be prioritized.  And some pursuits shouldnt be pursued at all.  The remedies sought by Ken Chlouber, combined with what the women have already endured,  should  sufficiently deter future misconduct.   Hurlbert should not pursue any criminal charges, including misdemeanors, against either Wendy Lyall or Katie Brazelton.

Update:  5-12, 11:30 a.m.  After learning Hurlbert has now come up with the ludicrous felony conspiracy charge against Brazelton, all I can say is Hurlbert has exceeded even my expectations for poor judgment.

[Ed: Many readers and bloggers in the mountain bike racing community have expressed major doubts about the seriousness of the alleged conduct of Lyall and Brazelton.  Many don’t like the way  Chlouber runs the event, and believe he’s inconsistent in his concern for rules when big names are involved.  Some question various financial aspects of the event, and some bemoan the graded dirt and lack of singletrack.  Links and comments are here, in an updated article.  Also see the comment I posted based on 5-13 follow-up interview with Ken Chlouber.]