Tis the season for major party reorganizations when county, state and national party organizations have their biennial organizational elections known as reorg's. I am again a Colorado Dem Party Central Committee Member by way of a non-competitive selection process that took place at our county party Central Committee Meeting a few weeks back. At the county level a Central Committee person comes by way of their precinct level where in a caucus type state, like Colorado, we have our own biennial caucus (nominating process of registered party voters who show up to the meeting) where we elect (or select or seek a volunteer) to be a precinct chairperson (AKA Precinct Committee person). Reorg's are necessary housekeeping meetings where those who are willing, able and motivated to perform critical party roles and mostly chores focused on basic electioneering activities, so your side gets elected. In short, party officers and election district officers are elected or selected up and down this process.
Much of the press or even party insider's focus their eyes and ears when at these events center upon the old fashioned political stump speeches, which are basically cheer-leading exercises for the faithful. Yesterday, at the Colorado Democratic Party Meeting held in downtown Denver, the reorg was the day time event, which preceded more cheer leading that evening at the traditional Jefferson/Jackson annual dinner. Most of Colorado's political leadership was in attendance. First up was U.S. Senator Mark Udall who gave a nominating speech for the unopposed State Chair that actually was his stump speech clearly identifying that he is in re-election mode. Actually the speeches were all complimentary and not disparaging towards the Elephant's not in the room, focused on good people doing good works.
In fact, there were no contested inner party campaigns for any of the State Officer positions in Colorado as Rich Palacio, a Latino from Pueblo where his family boasts a 6th generation family residence from the southern portion of the State. (Prior to 1846 and the subsequent losing the Mexican-American War the southern boundary in these parts was the Arkansas River, or where the city of Pueblo sits. Six generations take you back 175 +/- years or before the United States received this region from the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic when essentially after conquering the area the U.S. paid $15M for New Mexico (NM, CO, AZ, UT, NV, WY & CA) and California territories where Mexicans who were annexed in those areas had the choice of returning to Mexico or becoming U.S. citizens with full rights. Evidently Palacio's, as well as Ken & John Salazar's (current Sec. of the Interior and former U.S. Senator and his brother the former Congressman), and my own humble neighbor's (Jose and Eva) families stayed as American citizens. My neighbors often remind me how long their families have been in the area dating back to the 18th Century.
Okay so what?
The so what was that once all the unopposed Colorado Officer's were elected by a successive series of voice votes when it was over I looked up there are realized how representative the slate was to the Democratic electoral coalition. Palacio was Latino, the First Vice Chair, Beverly Ryken, was a retired military and political activist, our Second Vice Chair is Barbara Jones, an African-American professional woman, the Secretary was Carolyn Boller, a former Congressional Aide and union organizer, and then the Treasurer was Dr. Christopher Ott an openly gay physician. Essentially 2/5 were persons of color, 3/5 were women and one was openly gay. This was not by some prescription or entitled quota it was by the nature of the party. This quietly said volumes over the contrary, Colorado Republican Party which displayed contested, ugly and personally embarrassing elections, in the affluent suburb Highlands Ranch.
More on the GOP including radio talk show comments by the Publisher of the Denver Post, Dean Singleton as points out that the Republican Party is dead [in Colorado] and how Udall is going to win big regardless, plus a few reports of personal conversations with Colorado's Democratic leadership below the orange waves of change.
The Colorado Statesman (a state political rag that often seems to list to the right port) reported in detail the nastiness that is only Republican, even onto their own.
Colorado Republicans meet this weekend to elect a state chairman in the wake of last November’s resounding losses at the polls and both announced candidates say the GOP needs to undergo a massive overhaul in order to compete with what they both acknowledge is a superior Democratic organization.Essentially the Colorado's Republicans still don't believe their underlying message and ideology is a problem it is how they execute it. But then they reveal what kind of character they have.
“There’s no question that we had a tough election,” Call said, resulting from “a significant shift from a reliably Republican electorate” in the state. “Our electorate is shifting, demographically, politically, and we can’t keep doing things the way we’ve been doing it the last four or five years”Describing a set of “bold and dramatic moves” he hopes to take if he wins a second, two-year term, Call said the state GOP must build “an ever-present and year-round campaign operation,” including voter registration drives, neighborhood canvases and coordinated town hall meetings. “We can’t just prop up that campaign in the final few months and think that’s going to be successful,” he said, noting that he recently hired the state party’s first permanent field operative.
Among Baisley’s proposals: building a voter database that’s administered by the state party but that counties can easily use, and hiring the pros to help Republicans compete with Democrats when it comes to communicating a clear message. “We need some smart branding, messaging folk, professionals, who will help our candidates to not get beat up,” he said.
Call began his remarks on Wednesday by cautioning “overzealous supporters” of either candidate from slinging mud at their adversary, calling the run-up to the election “the crazy time, where Facebook and emails start blasting around.” Instead, he said he hoped the contest stays “focused on the issues, on the record that we’ve had in terms of party leadership, focused on the vision we have for leading the party forward, and not on personal attacks. I hope that all of us will maybe think twice or even three times before we do things that later we will regret in terms of personal attacks.”Check out the use of tried and true Republican innuendo and character assassination while the party continues to lose. It was later reported that Call was re-elected by a significant majority.
Both candidates told The Colorado Statesman that they denounced emails that had recently been circulated by their supporters, including one sent that night by a Gilpin County GOP officer that pointed to Call’s arrest in Idaho Springs on a failure-to-appear warrant for a speeding ticket two years ago. (Call resolved the matter in May 2011 after posting a $1,500 bond following his arrest on April 28 for failing to show up for a court date on a March 5 ticket for going 74 mph in a 55 mph zone in Chaffee County.)“How does a lawyer forget his own traffic ticket court date (the ticket itself isn’t a big deal), get his license suspended, get ARRESTED for driving without a license after being elected State Party Chair,” wrote Bonnie Solan in an email sent to central committee members. “We need new leadership, for this is a huge embarrassment for the Colorado GOP. Share as you like,” she added.Earlier in the week, a widely distributed email from a past Douglas County GOP officer “sounded the alarm” over a recent foreclosure action against Baisley, which has since been rectified.
“Everything being distributed about Mark Baisley’s ‘success story’ should be questioned,” wrote Patricia Nohavec-Fink. “Do you really want someone to have access to our State Party funds that has had his own house in foreclosure almost every month for the last 3 to 4 years?
Baisley said it was old news that he’d faced financial difficulties during what he termed “the Obama economy,” adding, “If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, a lot of folks have been struggling, especially small business entrepreneurs who put their house up to fund their company. We pulled out of that, thank God, and the future looks bright.”
This all in the wake of Friday's radio talk show bombshell where current publisher of the Denver Post, [William] Dean Singleton said on KHOW radio show Peter Boyles March 1st early morning. Colorado Pols reportedthe pertinent conversation on their blog today:
"he thinks the Republican Party is "dead in Colorado" and that he doesn't expect to see another Republican president elected in the United States in his lifetime.In the next hour he amplified his earlier comments on KHOW.
If that's not vein-popping enough, Singleton went on to say that Udall will win big in 2014, Colorado's next Attorney General will be a Democrat, and there's no one in the United States of America who won't take his phone call.Boyles: The Republican Party, for all intents and purposes, is dead.
Singleton: I think it's in trouble nationally. It's not in trouble locally. I mean, Republicans control 30 State Houses.
Boyles: But I'm talking about in Colorado.
Singleton: I think it's dead in Colorado.
Boyles: I think it's dead in the country.
Singleton: It's not dead–
Boyles: You think we'll ever have another Republican President in our lifetime?
Singleton: Ahh, no.
Boyles: I agree with you.
Singleton: And it really doesn't matter whom the Republicans put up. Republicans, in my view, won't win another presidency in our lifetime.
So as the Republicans called their next party chairperson either a scofflaw or potential embezzler as the publisher of the state's largest newspaper keenly identified that the party itself is essentially a zombie where he cannot envision a Republican president in a generation, I had some personal conversations with our state party leadership.Singleton: The Republican Party is not dead. The Republican Party controls 30 State Houses. Because of redistricting and gerrymandering, Republicans have the chance to hold the House from now on, because most their congressional members come from safe seats. But if you look where their electoral seats are, the Republicans just can’t play at a presidential level. They can’t win in enough states to have enough of the Electoral votes. So I don’t think we will see another Republican President in our lifetime.
Boyles: I don’t either….
Singleton: You’ve to elected state-wide office holders, the Treasurer and the Attorney General. The Attorney General is not running for re-election, so that will go Democratic. .. [BigMedia comment: Colorado’s Secretary of State is also a Republican.]
Boyles: Is it because of the party or is it the candidates they choose?
Singleton: Well, it’s both. The party has shifted so far right that that’s the kind candidates they pick. And they pick candidates that aren’t in the mainstream. And you see the growth of Colordo, and where the growth has come from demographically. I think Colorado is probably a Democratic state from now on.
It is a Democratic state today, and I don’t think it’s going back. I’m an independent. I’ve never registered for either party, and, in fact, the first Democrat I ever I voted for for President was Barack Obama. So I’m not a Democrat, but when you go to vote you, you have the choice of two candidates. And you pick the best candidate if you’re thinking straight…
You’ll see a lot of Republicans trying to get back in the game statewide, but I don’t see it happening. I don’t think it’s necessarily good. I just think it’s what it is… The Republicans don’t have a candidate to run against Udall in 2014. They have nobody to run.
Boyles: It’s a year away.
Singleton: And they don’t have anybody to run against him. Part of it is, nobody wants to run against him, because he’s going to win big. So, why do it?.. I find it sad that in 2014 we won’t have a spirited Senate race. There just won’t be. That’s not the way democracy was supposed to be….
Boyles: Is there anyone who won’t take your phone call?
Singleton: Not that I know of.
Mark Ferrandino (CO HD-2) Colorado's Speaker of the House is someone I am acquainted with through my friendship with Pete Lee (CO HD-18) to which he came up to three of us who were having El Paso County political conversations. Mark volunteered that the Civil Union Bill that passed the Colorado Senate (led by John Morse, SD-11 and Senate President, also a friend), has now passed through the judiciary committee will probably be presented to the House in two weeks time. He then volunteered this insight saying that the effort which is important could eventually become moot or dated in light of the U.S. Supreme Courts review of DOMA and California's case regarding "equal protection" in that he deadpanned the following:
"The court could rule that Colorado's state constitutional amendment forbidding 'gay marriage' is unconstitutional and therefore so are the laws allowing civil unions in that the state would have to pass a new marriage law altogether."The conversation then moved over the other hot topic, legalized marijuana also known as recreational or personal use of and cultivation of the former "devil weed". Ferrandino said that it is fait accompli that the state will make 5 nanograms of bloodstream THC a basis for impaired driving despite the controversy regarding it. He basically justified the legislative will as regulating marijuana like alcohol. Regardless of this misstep, it is a step forward.
I then met Mark Udall who was getting his party campaign organization in place so that his 9th election to a post is not a huge challenge. Udall is well liked and respected by most of Colorado's electorate. Mark was personally excited about Michael Bennet being appointed the DSCC Chair and that he didn't want to burden him anymore. 2014 see's 13 Republicans and 20 Democratic seats up for contests. TheCook Report now states that the following are leaning or toss ups in the Democratic column while none of the Republican 13 appear challenged. (Leaners) Begich (AK), Pryor (AR), Landrieu (LA-potential retirement), Franken (MN), Baucus (MT), Hagan (NC); TOSS UP's, IA (Harkin), Johnson (SD potential retirement), WV (Rockefeller).
After chumming with Udall's group I found my way over to say a personal hello with Andy Romanoff who is now a declared Democratic candidate for CD-6 and a challenge to Coffman who showed vulnerability in the last election. Andy ran for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2010 but came up short to Michael Bennet. We discussed how he is back now and how things keep moving forward for Colorado and the Democrats in the 21st Century. Just then Diana DeGette came down the escalator and gave me (I have never met her) and Andy a big welcome, she seemed ready to make the room. The Congressional District meetings were about to get going so she was getting in the groove. Then I happened to run into Jared Polis, again it was our first meeting where I asked him how deep is the lack of working relationship in DC as it relates to partisanship.
He said something quite revealing; [paraphrasing] It now seems that the way of life that many on the right, "resentment and anger" has permeated to their political leaders who are unwilling to work with us in that the resentment now is about government actually working. This didn't sound to promising regarding a quick solution for 'Sequester'.
I met other persons, CU Board of Regent's and we discussed how more transparency is needed for additional fee's that now seem to expand collegiate costs by more than 20%.