Congratulations to the following candidates from our meeting last night. Our board wants to “lead by example” . . and that means being where the action is and honoring commitments to making a difference. We are honored to be able to support the real leaders of our movement . . . the candidates with the right values and honest commitment.
Our third place winner was Adams County District 4 Commissioner candidate Joe Domenico, who won 10 hours of volunteer help.
Our second place winner was Adams County Assessor candidate Patsy Melonakis, who won 20 hours of volunteer help.
Our first place winner was HD-30 candidate JoAnn Windholz, who won 50 hours of volunteer help!
Hey Reagan Club Republicans!
The Adams/Broomfield Victory office is still hiring paid walkers/callers for the final push. They are offering $12/hour if you work under 30 hours a week and $14/hour if you work over 30 hours. They even will give you a $2/hour raise if you work weekends! If you want to help out our candidates in this crucial stretch, why not get paid for it?
Contact Kristian Hemphill
at 720-723-0211 or go to the office located at 2200 East 104th Ave. in Thornton. Tell your friends!
A new election law leaves the door wide open for abuse in hotly contested races.
Perhaps the most hard-fought Senate race this year will be Colorado’s showdown between Democratic senator Mark Udall and Republican congressman Cory Gardner. The RealClearPolitics average of polls in the race shows Gardner holding a lead of 1.3 percentage points. The outcome may determine control of the U.S. Senate, and the margin of victory could be less than the 11,000-vote margin by which Democratic senator Michael Bennet was reelected in Colorado in 2010.
“We have uniquely combined two bad ideas, both of which open the door to fraud and error along with creating huge administrative headaches,” warns Republican Scott Gessler, Colorado’s secretary of state. Along with the liberal Denver Post (the state’s leading newspaper) and a few Republican clerks from the state’s largest counties, Gessler fought passage of the law.
Wayne Williams is the clerk of El Paso County, which includes Colorado Springs, the state’s second-largest city. He says HB 1303 was sold as a way to “modernize” elections and increase turnout, but it’s fixing a system that wasn’t broken. In 2012, Colorado was among the top three states in the turnout of eligible citizens. Its number of registered voters that year climbed 13.7 percent, well above normal population growth. At the same time, the state’s online voter-registration system processed 250,000 changes submitted by voters, ensuring a more accurate and less duplicative record of the electorate.
Colorado’s system works well enough that when progressive activists placed a measure on the state’s ballot to impose same-day registration in 2002, it was rejected by more than 60 percent of voters despite a massive spending advantage for same-day-registration supporters. “There was general agreement it wasn’t needed and would increase fraud and confusion,” Bill Cadman, minority leader of the state senate, told me. He notes that on the same day Colorado rejected same-day voter registration in 2002, voters in liberal California rejected it by a similar landslide.
Having suffered stinging defeat at the polls, advocates of same-day registration were careful in 2013 to have it approved by the state legislature instead of the people. They rammed through the bill without any bipartisan input. It allowed those running voter-registration drives to delay delivery of the registrations they accepted, reducing the time available to check the data on them. It stripped county clerks of the ability to review new voter registrations and forced every Colorado voter to receive a mail ballot, including 800,000 who had clearly expressed their desire to vote only at polling places. Ballots will be mailed to people who don’t vote and no longer live in Colorado, because the law makes it very difficult to remove names from the voting rolls.
Williams, the El Paso County clerk, warns that the law “takes us back to the corruption of 19th-century Tammany Hall” and will reduce public confidence in the integrity of the balloting. Having voting conducted on an “honor system” is one thing, but Colorado’s law actually creates incentives for mischief that would test the honor of many campaign workers. Williams’s office has posted a video to YouTube showing just how easy it is to commit fraud in this election; Williams is also sharing tips to prevent fraud.
All mail-in ballots in Colorado will be ripe for abuse because “ballot harvesters” are allowed to go door-to-door and collect up to ten ballots with no effective enforcement if they collect more and deliver them at other times. Amazingly, these operatives can be paid based on the number of ballots they collect. The potential for harvesters to pressure voters to turn over ballots, open ballot envelopes, alter ballots, or even throw them away is real. “Voters would never hand over their credit card numbers to strangers ringing their doorbell, but they’re allowed to surrender their ballot,” says Marilyn Marks of the Rocky Mountain Foundation, an election-integrity group. She notes that secrecy controls are so lax that election workers who receive mail-in ballots can figure out how individuals voted in many counties.
Secretary of State Gessler says the same-day-registration provisions of HB 1303 create added potential for mischief. “We were told that eleven other states have that system, but during legislative debate, warnings based on the experience of those states were ignored,” he told me.
One of the examples he cites is Wisconsin. In 2008, a 68-page Milwaukee Police Department report confirmed that in the last presidential election, claims that thousands “more ballots [were] cast than voters recorded were found to be true.” The report found that there had been an organized effort by political operatives from out of state to swing the election. It concluded “that the one thing that could eliminate a large percentage of fraud or the appearance of fraudulent voting in any given election is the elimination of the on-site or same-day voter registration system.”
Gessler also point to Minnesota. A statewide watchdog group called Minnesota Majority scoured the 2008 election results and identified 1,099 felons who had voted illegally. Even though violators must essentially admit their crime before they can be charged, prosecutors managed to secure 177 convictions of fraud by felons. Such numbers matter — in 2008, Al Franken won his disputed Senate race by only 312 votes, and a local TV station found that nine out of ten illegal felon voters in that race said they had cast ballots for Franken. The Minnesota Majority report concluded that “while some ineligible felon voters registered in advance of the election and should have been flagged for challenge, the overwhelming majority who evaded detection used Election Day registration, which currently has no mechanism to detect or prevent ineligible voters.”
Gessler hopes his fears about election chicanery in Colorado will prove unwarranted, but he is concerned that the effort to “politicize” election laws will spread to other states. “Colorado didn’t need these changes,” he says. “We had one of the highest of all voter turnouts, and people could register everywhere, from online sites to the DMV. We can make it easy to vote and tough to cheat, but the law here now makes it impossible to maintain a healthy balance in both areas.”
Opponents of HB 1303 worry that because the new law leaves the door wide open for fraud, it could cast a taint over the results in this November’s critical races for senator, representatives, governor, and state attorney general. They advise people to treat their mail-in ballot as if it were cash and cast it in person at their local clerk’s office or at “voter service centers” that are authorized to receive them. “Treasure what your ballot represents,” says Marilyn Marks. “It’s your voice in how we govern ourselves.”
— John Fund is national affairs correspondent for NRO and co-author, with Hans Von Spakovsky, of Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk.
By Alexandra Jaffe
Colorado Democrats are fretting that Sen. Mark Udall’s (D-Colo.) “war on women” battle cry against Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) is starting to sound like a broken record.
After a series of polls this past month have shown the race statistically tied or even with Gardner up, some Democrats are urging Udall to find a new refrain against his opponent, lest Republicans claim the seat in November.
“Gardner gave him a lot to work with on that subject, but a lot people think he may have overdone it,” said one well-connected Democratic operative in the state.
Starting essentially from Gardner’s entry into the race, Udall’s main line of attack on the GOP congressman has been his support for a federal “personhood” measure, which would effectively ban abortion and restrict many forms of birth control.
Gardner, however, has said he regretted his past support for the statewide initiative and has also helped mitigate hits against him by coming out for over-the-counter birth control — the first in a string of GOP Senate candidates to do so.
The problem is not that the attacks on Gardner haven’t worked, Democrats say — it’s that Udall is swimming against a far tougher tide than many had initially expected, even when the party was preparing for a tough cycle.
They point in particular to President Obama’s underwater approval rating in the state, and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s own tougher than expected reelection thanks, in part, to self-inflicted wounds.
“There’s a little dissatisfaction with Obama that translates down the Democratic ticket,” admitted Mike Feeley, a former Democratic state Senate minority leader. “I think Udall is trying to overcome that.” Continue reading
Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall and his Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, square off in their second debate, offering sharp differences over the issues of health care, climate change, and immigration.
Gardner, like other Republican challengers this cycle, attacked Udall for voting too often with the President and his policies, which Gardner says are on the ballot this year.
“President Obama made it clear that his policies are on the ballot,” Gardner said. “And Senator Udall voted with him 99% of the time.”
Udall said Gardner’s voting record in the House is “out of the mainstream” and tried to paint Gardner as an out-of-touch conservative who wants to take the state backwards on energy, climate change, immigration and health care.
“Let’s look forward and embrace the future” Udall told the audience. “Congressman Gardner looks backward.”
Gardner told Udall that 340,000 Coloradans lost their health care because of the Affordable Care Act.
“Did you break your word when you said they can keep their insurance?” Gardner asked Udall.
Udall defended his vote on the ACA, saying we can’t afford to go back to the way things were before health care reform.
Udall slammed Gardner as “reckless” and “irresponsible” for supporting last October’s government shutdown, during what Udall called “biblical” Colorado floods, out of misplaced loyalty to the tea party. Gardner responded by telling Udall that he was politicizing a tragedy.
“I know you want to play politics and politicize things that I believe are out of bonds,” said Gardner.
Gardner struck a similar cord to his Republican counterparts in Alaska and Iowa on the issue of climate change, acknowledging it exists, but refusing to concede its causes are man-made. The Republican used the topic to criticize his Democratic rival on supporting the controversial cap and trade policy that some say raises energy costs.
“I believe that the climate is changing but I do not believe in destroying the economy over policies to address that,” Gardner said.
Udall chastised Gardner for not believing that climate change is occurring and reiterated his support for putting a price on pollution. Gardner jumped in to press Udall further on a specific cost to taxing carbon emissions.
“People talk about how they want to put a price on carbon,” Gardner said. “But they won’t talk about what that price is… I refuse to support a climate tax bill that would cost farmers and ranchers over $5,000 per sprinkler.”
Udall said that Gardner is for “de-facto amnesty,” an unusual attack from Democrats in a political environment where the GOP uses the same line against Democratic candidates.
“Congressman Gardner says he’s for immigration reform,” Udall said, “but he hasn’t lifted a finger in the House of Representatives to make it happen.”
In contrast to Gardner’s criticism of President Obama threatening to use his executive authority to overhaul the immigration system, Udall said that he was “disappointed” over the President’s failure to act. Udall said that President Obama has a responsibility to use his authority since the Congress has been “missing in action” on this issue, continuing his assault on Gardner’s votes.
“Just look at Congressman Gardner’s record,” Udall said. “ He’s voted to deport dreamers.”
Cory Gardner for U.S. Senate
Congress is hardly functioning these days. It can’t pass legislation that is controversial and it often can’t even pass legislation on which there is broad agreement. Its reputation is abysmal, and even its members rarely dispute the popular indictment.
It needs fresh leadership, energy and ideas, and Cory Gardner can help provide them in the U.S. Senate.
In every position the Yuma Republican has held over the years — from the state legislature to U.S. House of Representatives — he has quickly become someone to be reckoned with and whose words carry weight. ABC News, for example, singled out Gardner a year ago — before he declared for the Senate — as one of the party’s “rising stars” who represented “a new generation of talent” and who had become a “go-to” member of leadership.
And this was about someone who wasn’t elected to Congress until 2010. Nor is Gardner a political time-server interested only in professional security. He is giving up a safe seat in the House to challenge a one-term Senate incumbent, Democrat Mark Udall, in what is typically an uphill effort.
It’s time for a change
Fortunately for Gardner, the polls are showing the contest a tossup. Voters may be sensing the time has come for change.
Udall is a fine man with good intentions, and on some issues our views are closer to his than to Gardner’s. But he is not perceived as a leader in Washington and, with rare exceptions such as wind energy and intelligence gathering, he is not at the center of the issues that count — as his Democratic colleague, Sen. Michael Bennet, always seems to be.
Rather than run on his record, Udall’s campaign has devoted a shocking amount of energy and money trying to convince voters that Gardner seeks to outlaw birth control despite the congressman’s call for over-the-counter sales of contraceptives. Udall is trying to frighten voters rather than inspire them with a hopeful vision. His obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince.
One-two punch in Senate
If Gardner’s past is any guide, he would very likely match Bennet’s influence in the upper chamber, providing Colorado with a powerful one-two punch and pairing two young, energetic senators with clout on both sides of the aisle.
If Gardner wins, of course, it could mean the Senate has flipped to Republicans. However, that doesn’t mean it will simply butt heads with President Obama as the Republican House has done. As The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib recently pointed out, “A look back shows that eras of evenly divided power — Congress fully controlled by one party, the presidency by the other — have turned out to be among the most productive” because both sides temper their policies.
By contrast, we can be sure of what will happen in the next two years on issues such as immigration, tax reform, entitlement reform and military spending if the status quo persists: little to nothing. And yet these issues are critical to the nation’s economic health and a long-awaited boost for middle-class incomes.
Gardner has sound ideas on tax reform that could help the economy take off and has expressed willingness to compromise on immigration despite a fairly hard line over the years. And his stance on defense spending appears closer to those of Rep. Mike Coffman, who favors restraint, than to those in the GOP who view the military as sacrosanct.
If Gardner had been a cultural warrior throughout his career, we would hesitate to support him, because we strongly disagree with him on same-sex marriage and abortion rights. But in fact he has emphasized economic and energy issues (and was, for example, an early supporter among Republicans of renewable energy).
For that matter, his past views on same-sex marriage are becoming irrelevant now that the Supreme Court has let appeals court rulings stand and marriage equality appears unstoppable. And contrary to Udall’s tedious refrain, Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights.
Credit to Udall on spying
We’d be remiss in not giving credit to Udall for using his position on the Senate Intelligence Committee to crusade against spying activities that encroach on individual freedom and privacy. Gardner himself has praised the senator’s efforts there. But the congressman hasn’t been oblivious to this issue, either. He was a co-sponsor last year of the USA Freedom Act, which the ACLU praised as “real spying reform.”
Many Coloradans are no doubt sick of the overload of negative ads that have assaulted them from both sides, painting Gardner as an extremist and Udall as a mindless vote for the president’s policies. Neither portrait is fair. But in their irritation with the campaigns, voters should not lose sight of the fact that a great deal is at stake. A dysfunctional Congress calls for action when voters have an attractive option to the gridlocked status quo. And in Colorado, thankfully, they do in Cory Gardner.
A favorite Democratic tactic loses traction with voters.
Colorado Sen. Mark Udall has been called a lot of things, but the nickname highlighted during his Tuesday debate with Republican Cory Gardner deserves some meditation. “Mr. Udall,” said the female debate moderator, “your campaign has been so focused on women’s issues that you’ve been dubbed ‘Mark Uterus’ . . . Have you gone too far?”
Don’t tell Harry Reid , but the “war on women” theme is losing political altitude. Don’t tell the entire Democratic Party, in fact, which this year chose to elevate this attack—that Republicans are hostile to women—to the top of its political strategy. Mr. Reid spent most of the past year holding Senate show votes (on “equal” pay or the Violence Against Women Act) designed to give his candidates further political ammunition. Democrats by some estimates have already devoted as much as 60% of their $120 million in midterm TV advertising to the “war on women”—claiming Republican candidates are anti-birth-control, anti-women’s-health, anti-reproductive rights, anti-equal pay. Even Republicans at the height of anti-ObamaCare fervor were never so monomaniacal.
When a party throws $70 million at an issue, it will move the voter dial. Yet what’s remarkable is how little that dial is moving for Democrats compared with past elections. In Colorado, where Mr. Udall and his allies have beaten the “war on women” drum harder than any campaign, the most recent poll, from Quinnipiac, shows Mr. Gardner down by only three points among women. Colorado Republican Ken Buck, who failed in a Senate bid in 2010, lost women by 17 points. Continue reading