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61 minutes | Mar 30, 2020
S3 EP 1: Polling in the Time of Coronavirus
In this episode we discuss the business of conducting polls in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic before reviewing some recent polls on President Trump’s handling of the crisis. We then discuss the government response at both the federal and state level, covering everything from the stimulus package being debated in Congress to local stay-at-home orders here in Colorado. Segment 1: To Poll or Not to Poll? In a typical election year, our political and government clients would be planning on fielding surveys to plan for November. This is not shaping up to be a typical election year. So what are the drawbacks to polling during the coronavirus pandemic? At what point is just regular old issue or campaign polling ok? Are there any actual benefits for the polling industry? Segment 2: A Review of Recent Polling A new round of recent polls show a bump for President Trump’s job approval, whether the question is general or specifically related to his response to COVID-19. Gallup shows a bump even among Democrats and Independents. In a Monmouth poll, 50% of respondents think the president is doing a good job, though that lags behind “your state’s governor” at 72% and health agencies in the federal government at 65%. Still, the truth is that it’s probably too soon to make any judgments about how the crisis will affect the President’s reelection chances. Boston College political scientist David A. Hopkins has a good blog post explaining why. Segment 3: Stimulus Package The Senate has finally passed a $2 trillion stimulus package to deal with the crisis. Vox has a breakdown of what’s included in the package. It includes a $500 billion loan program for businesses, increased unemployment insurance, $150 billion into the health care system, $150 billion to state and local governments, direct payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child for households making below $75,000 (individual) or $150,000 (couple), and another $367 billion for small business loans. The package will now be voted on by the House on Friday morning, though already at least one Republican is threatening to hold up the vote. What do you make of the politics of the stimulus package? Conservatives are attacking Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats for playing politics during the crisis, holding up the stimulus package and attempting to jam in a Democratic wish list while Democrats criticized Republicans for proposing less money for poor households and holding up the bill over unemployment insurance. Segment 4: Political Storylines Now let’s look at a few other political storylines stemming from the crisis. One argument that Democrats are advancing is that President Trump was slow to grasp the severity of the crisis, and in doing so misled the American people and heightened the risk. That’s the case being made by Priorities USA Action, one of the main Democratic super PACs, in a new ad running in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida. Will this argument be effective come November? President Trump and other Republicans are also starting to pivot toward advocating a quicker return to normalcy, with Trump saying on Tuesday that he would “love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.” This is in line with an emerging argument from Republicans that continued damage to the economy will be worse than deaths from the coronavirus, with Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick going so far as to say that he would be willing to risk his health for the good of the country’s economic future. Because this line of thinking is directly in contrast to the advice of public health experts, it will likely only add fuel to the fire of Democratic attacks like the Priorities USA ad. However effective these partisan attacks end up being in this November’s elections, COVID-19 may fundamentally alter our politics for years to come. David Siders explains the shift in Politico. To sum it up, the era of big government may be back for good. Is that case? Segment 5: The Colorado Response Let’s end by discussing the response close to home here in Colorado. Governor Polis had resisted pressure to issue a statewide shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order, in keeping with his preference for local control over statewide mandates. This had earned the governor praise from across the political spectrum. However, as more and more local government issued stay-at-home orders, the Governor finally issued the statewide order this morning. Who’s right? What is the appropriate response?
81 minutes | Aug 28, 2019
S2 EP 6: The Politics of Gun Control
Today we are going to discuss one of the politics of gun control. We will discuss the current state and federal gun control laws, some new gun control proposals coming from the Democratic candidates for President, and the ever-changing gun control positions of President Trump. We also discuss how Republican candidates and incumbents could communicate their more effectively. Segment 1: David, Courtney and Ryan’s Backgrounds Segment 2: Current Rules and Regulations 1994 – Federal Background Check Requirement Requires all licensed gun sellers to perform a background check on a purchaser at the time of sale. Unlicensed sellers do not have to run a background check at this time. 22% of US gun owners acquired their most recent firearm without a background check. According to Giffords Law Center to prevent gun violence. State Laws- 22 states require some sort of background check/permit laws 12 States with Universal background checks- Background checks for ALL sales and TRANSFERS on all classes of firearms, no matter if licensed or unlicensed. CA, CO, CT, DE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA and (DC) Two states require background checks for handguns only, but not long guns like rifles or shotguns. MD, PA Three states require a permit to purchase any firearm issued after a background check. HI, IL, MA Only one state requires a permit and unlicensed sellers to conduct the transaction through a licensed dealer. NJ Four states require a permit for HANDGUNS only, you do not have to get one for long guns. IA, MI, NE, NC What Background Checks Look for and Stop People From Purchasing a Gun Convicted of a crime that carried a sentence of more than one year, or a misdemeanor that carried a sentence of over two years Are a fugitive (i.e. there's a felony or misdemeanor warrant for your arrest) Are a drug addict Are diagnosed mentally ill, which can include being involuntarily committed, found not guilty by reason of insanity, or found unfit to stand trial Reside in the US illegally Are dishonorably discharged from the military Had a restraining ordered issued against you (i.e. found guilty of harassing, stalking, or threatening a partner or the child of your partner) Were convicted of domestic violence (i.e. convicted of using or threatening to use a deadly weapon against a spouse, former spouse, parent, guardian of the victim, etc.) Have renounced your US citizenship Current Legislation in Congress: H.R. 8 – To require a background check on every and all firearm sales. H.R. 1112 – Would also extend background checks, but also extend the waiting period for delivery of guns. …and this would do the same in closing that private sale loophole but also extend the waiting period for the delivery of guns when the FBI is having trouble conducting a background check. Under current law, that gun has to be delivered within 72 hours. The proposal that passed the House would extend that to 10 days. Both bills have passed the House, but Senator McConnell has not brought them to the Senate floor. Segment 3: Where do the Democratic Presidential Candidates Stand on Gun Control? What Candidates are going the furthest? Beto O’Rourke – Mandatory Buyback Program on Assault Rifles Cory Booker – Gun Licensing as a Solution Applicants would submit fingerprints, provide basic background info, provide documentation they completed a gun safety course. Limiting individual purchases of firearms to one per month, placing ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Voluntary buyback program- Buttigieg, Bullock, Castro, O’Rourke, Ryan and Yang Harris would take executive action to pass universal background checks and assault rifle bans. Biden - starting with universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Plans to defeat NRA. Warren – Too moderate on guns, in a democratic primary sense of course? The New York Times asked almost all Democratic Primary candidates (excluding Biden) the question “In an ideal world, would anyone own handguns?” Check out their answers here. Should they be more aggressive? In an article on Vox.com, German Lopez discusses why Democrats have not made progress on gun control and how there should be a Medicare-for-all type deal ending gun violence. The article is called, “Democrats have been discussing the same ideas on guns for 25 years. It’s time to change that.” Segment 4: Current Polling on Gun Control August 2019 CNN Poll – 1001n – National Sample G1. Do you favor or oppose stricter gun control laws? 60% Total Favor (41% Strongly) – 35% Total Oppose (21% Strongly Oppose) July 2019 CNN Poll – 1000n – National Sample “Please tell me whether you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose each of the following gun polices: Allowing (a family member/the police) to seek a court order to temporarily take away guns if they feel a gun owner may harm themselves or others.” 77% support family 70% support police Republican Main Street Partnership Survey of Suburban Women – 530n – 200 interviews in 5 CD’s COCD06, KSCD03, NCCD09, PACD01, VACD10 72 percent said they think gun laws should be stricter, compared to four percent who said they should be less strict and 23 percent who said they should be kept as they are now. 55 percent said they think stricter gun laws would help prevent gun violence. 90 percent support requiring universal background checks for gun purchases at gun shows or other private sales, which would require all gun owners to file with a national firearms registry. 88 percent said they would support requiring a 48-hour waiting period between the purchase of a firearm and when the buyer can take possession of that gun. 84 percent back a national red flag law that would permit law enforcement to temporarily retain firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. 76 percent said they would ban the purchase and use of semi-automatic assault-style weapons like the AK-47 and the AR-15. 72 percent would support banning the sale and possession of high-capacity or extended ammunition magazines, which allow guns to shoot more than 10 bullets before needing to be reloaded. Segment 5: Colorado Gun Ownership and Concealed Carry Statistics The following information is from an article from Colorado Public Radio called “What the Numbers Tell Us About Guns In Colorado” by Ben Markus (March 2018) Colorado gun sales have increased substantially since President Obama became President in 2008. 26% increase in 2008 compared to 2% average annual increase in sales during President George W Bush two terms in office. Sales also increased after the high-profile mass shootings. After the Aurora theater shooting and Sandy Hook for example. Between 2011 and 2013, guns sales in CO rose 59%. Gun sales decreased by only 5% when Trump took office. In 2017, there were 360,468 guns purchased in CO. Since 2001, Coloradans have purchased 4 million guns. Handguns account for 58% of the purchases. Motivator is self-defense. There have been 379,732 concealed carry permit applications in the last 10 years. 63,904 total permits in 2018 (From CBI Instacheck Unit) 27,421 from Jan to June of 2019 (From CBI Instacheck Unit) In 2017, 77% of Colorado’s 749 gun deaths were suicide. The following information is from an article from the Colorado Sun called “Colorado’s 20,669 gun deaths since 1980, explained in five charts” (May 2019) In 2018, 885 people died by firearm in CO 20,669 gun deaths since 1980 in CO 15255 (74%) by suicide 4406 (21%) by homicide 566 (3%) Other 442 (2%) Unintentional/Accident Segment 6: Solutions to Random Gun Violence What are solutions that work? Will there be a fix? If there isn’t a 100% solution, what can we do? What’s the cause? Social Media NRA Video Games Lack of Communication Mental Health
65 minutes | Aug 14, 2019
S2 EP 5: Our TABOR Survey
In this episode, our latest survey of Colorado voters on TABOR and Proposition CC, where things stand right now and what it means for this year and beyond. Segment 1: Proposition CC? Let’s start by discussing Proposition CC, before getting into TABOR more generally. As a reminder, here is the text of Proposition CC. The Colorado Sun had a helpful breakdown of the arguments in support of CC back in April, and here is a breakdown of arguments against CC from Mike Krause at Complete Colorado. Right now, support for Prop CC is at 54%, driven by solid support among Democrats (72%) and Unaffiliated voters (60%). Republican voters not surprisingly are far less enthusiastic at 32%. What does it mean over the next few months as each side makes their case? Segment 2: Key Takeaways on TABOR? We first asked respondents how familiar they are with the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, also known as the TABOR Amendment in Colorado’s constitution. 59% are at least somewhat familiar, though only 20% are very familiar. Another 22% are not too familiar with TABOR, and 16% are not familiar at all. Among those who are very, somewhat or not too familiar, 46% have a favorable impression of TABOR while 36% have an unfavorable opinion and 18% don’t have an opinion. This question splits dramatically across party lines as 60% of Republicans have a favorable impression while only 32% of Democrats have a favorable impression. A near majority of Unaffiliated voters, 47%, also have a favorable impression. What jumps out in the data here? We also asked about the two main components of TABOR, and found that requiring voter approval for tax increases is a significantly more popular aspect than requiring the state to refund excess revenue to taxpayers. In fact, 47% would support a statewide “de-Brucing” ballot measure even without providing respondents a specific reason or purpose, while 39% would oppose it and 13% are undecided. Still, voters have little appetite for a full repeal of TABOR. When asked about a hypothetical measure to repeal TABOR on the 2020 ballot, only 36% would support repeal, 48% would oppose it and 16% are undecided. In general, where does the TABOR debate go from here? Segment 3: Petition Gathering in Colorado A quick topic for our Colorado listeners: Last week a judge ruled that Kennedy Enterprises must return the $235,000 they were paid by Walker Stapleton’s campaign during last year’s Republican Primary. It’s just another news story that highlights the potential pitfalls involved for candidates seeking to gain ballot access through the petition process. Doug Robinson, one of Stapleton’s opponents in the primary, follows up with an op-ed in the Colorado Sun calling for reform that removes the profit motive from signature gathering. What’s the right solution here? Segment 4: Governor Hickenlooper and the U.S. Senate Race Last, a mix of national (for now) and local politics…On the heels of a new survey purporting to show a substantial lead for former Gov. Hickenlooper were he to jump into the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate, what is his next move, and just how much would he shake up the race to unseat Senator Gardner? Segment 5: Wrap Up We’ll continue watching the Democratic Presidential race, and will be back with another podcast in two weeks. Thanks for listening, please subscribe and give us a good rating!
94 minutes | Aug 7, 2019
S2 EP 4: Discussing Round 2 of the Democratic Presidential Debates
In this episode, we discuss last week’s second round of the Democratic Presidential Debates. How were they different from the first round? Who did well? Who did poorly? Who has a lot more work to do? Have the tiers moved, and is there anyone new that could actually win the Democratic nomination? Segment 1: What Issues Were Discussed and Not Discussed? Healthcare, Medicare for All, the Public Option, Private Insurance Immigration, De-Criminalizing the Border, Seeking Asylum vs. Breaking the law Gun Violence/Criminal Justice/Prison Reform/Police Reform/Law and Order/Rehabilitation The Racial Divide in the US/Trump’s Rhetoric Climate Change/Climate Crisis Tariffs, Trade Policy, NAFTA 2.0 Winning Michigan and the Midwest Student Loan Debt Wage Growth, Pay Inequality, Taxes on the Wealthy Foreign Policy, Afghanistan, Iran Nuclear Agreement, North Korea, Policing the World Impeaching Trump, Obstruction of Justice, Mueller Report Segment 2: How Was the Mood Different from the Miami Debates? Bernie, Warren, strong liberal policies being defended Joe Biden referencing his accomplishments with Obama Political strategy and fears of Republican attacks discussed in open Was 3 hours long vs. 2 hours in Miami, more time Segment 3: Who Won the Debates? Night 1 – Warren/Sanders vs. The rest Night 2 – New vs. Obama Segment 4: Who “Lost”? Dave – Courtney – Ryan - Segment 5: Who’s Making the Next Round and What’s Next? As of now, there are eight candidates that are eligible for the next debates in Houston on September 12th and 13th hosted by ABC News. Requirements for September Debates: Polling: Receive 2% support or higher in four different polls between June 28th and August 28th. Polls can be conducted nationally or in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and/or Nevada. Donors: Need support of at least 130,000 unique donors, including 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states. Current eligible candidates: Joe Biden Cory Booker Pete Buttigieg Kamala Harris Amy Klobuchar Beto O’Rourke Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren Close, but not there yet: Andrew Yang – Has donors, 2% on 3 of 4 polls. Julian Castro – Has donors, 2% on 3 of 4 polls. Tulsi Gabbard – Has donors, 2% on 1 of 4 polls. Tom Steyer – No on donors, 2% on 2 of 4 polls John Hickenlooper – No on donors, 2% on 1 of 4 polls All other candidates haven’t reached above 2% in any qualifying polls. If a candidate does not qualify for the September debates, what should they do next? Segment 6: Is There Any Real Daylight Between the Candidates on Policy? Obviously, there were a ton of issues covered over the two nights…What stood out to you? Anything different than the last round of debates? Again, Vox has a good breakdown from the left of who won/lost. Did these debates change your perception of which candidates could defeat President Trump next November? Segment 7: Looking Ahead to the 2020 Election Calendar The Iowa Caucuses will take place on Monday, February 3rd, followed by the New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday the 11th. The Nevada Caucuses take place on Saturday February 22nd, and the South Carolina Primary on Saturday the 29th. Super Tuesday, when Colorado will vote along with a significant portion of the country – including California and Texas – is Tuesday, March 3rd. Segment 8: Wrap Up We have a survey regarding TABOR coming out soon. Gun control likely to lead as a top issue after El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy shootings Thanks for listening, please give us a good rating,
39 minutes | Jul 31, 2019
S2 EP 3: Our Poll of Likely 2020 Colorado Voters
In this episode, we discuss our Colorado 2020 General Election Survey that we released this week. Where does President Trump stand going into 2020? Governor Polis’ Approval and potential recall? Was there overreach during the 2019 legislative question? Colorado 2020 General Election Survey Methodology 500n – 250 online and 250 phone interviews Why online? Does it make a difference? Survey Demographics How we came to our final turnout forecast? Unaffiliated voters at 36% 18-34 at 27% How Republicans will be lower at the expense of unaffiliated voters. The Findings Voter Intensity Democratic voters have a slight edge in voter intensity heading into the 2020 elections, though Republicans and unaffiliated voters show a high level of interest as well. Biggest story here is unaffiliated voters and comparing them to past survey research. 9 & 10 Dem – 77% Rep – 73% Unaf – 68% Compared to October 8th – 10th, 2018 Magellan General Election Poll Dem – 75% Rep – 67% Unaf – 52% Compared to October 29th – 30th, 2018 Magellan General Election Poll Dem – 80% Rep – 84% Unaf – 72% Voter Mood Right Direction – 44% Wrong Track – 41% Unsure 15% Compared to our NPV Survey in March 2019 Right Direction – 52% (8-point difference) Wrong Track – 41% Unsure 7% Congress Control Democrat Control – 47% Republican Control – 37% Undecided – 16% President Trump Approval and 2020 Election Trump Approval Approve – 39% (24% Strongly Approve) Disapprove – 57% (49% Strongly Disapprove) 2020 Presidential Election Total Dem – 44% (33% Definitely Dem Candidate) Total Trump – 32% (25% Definitely Trump) Other Candidate – 15% Undecided – 9% Governor Polis Approval and Recall Polis Approval Approve – 49% (21% Strongly Approve) Disapprove – 37% (27% Strongly Disapprove) Governor Recall Election Total No, Keep in Office – 47% (34% Definitely Keep in Office) Total Yes, Recall – 38% (27% Definitely Recall) Undecided – 15% Legislature Overreach How we asked the question? Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Governor Polis and the Democratic state legislature overreached during this past legislative session and passed bills that went too far and were out of touch with everyday Coloradans. Total Agree – 45% (28% Strongly Agree) Total Disagree – 40% (19% Strongly Disagree) Further Conclusions and Surprises, Looking Forward Anything surprise you about the results? Any further conclusions or anything to look forward to from these results Next podcast: Next week’s Democrat Debates
69 minutes | Jul 10, 2019
S2 EP 2: The Democratic Debates
In this episode, we discuss last week’s Democratic Debates. Who did well? Who has work to do? What are the tiers, and how many of these candidates could actually win the Democratic nomination? The Democratic Debates: Who “Won”? We’re starting to see some polling numbers that reflect what Democratic voters thought of the debates, and it seems clear that among the more top tier candidates, both Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris did well, while Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders failed to improve their numbers. If true, this certainly changes the dynamic of the race, with Biden and Sanders no longer a clear top two, resulting in a more wide open field. Still, before we get into the substance of the debates, let’s discuss just how wide open the field is. How many of these candidates could actually win the Democratic nomination? Ok, so if it’s clear that Warren and Harris did well, why do you think that is? What stood out about their performances? Who else caught your eye in these first debates? In the HuffPost/YouGov poll, Julian Castro, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg also did well. Did we see anything from either of those three that suggests an ability to make a leap as a more serious contender? FiveThirtyEight had an interesting breakdown of the debate in five charts. Is There Any Real Daylight Between The Candidates on Policy? Obviously, there were a ton of issues covered over the two nights…What stood out to you? Vox has a good breakdown from the left of who won/lost on policy. Most of the partisan Republicans watching will likely view the real winner of the debates as President Trump, arguing that the policy conversation was far to the left of the average American voter, and that Vice President Biden’s chances of securing the nomination took a hit after performance. Is there truth to that? How much did Vice President Biden really hurt his chances of winning the nomination? Did these debates change your perception of which candidates could defeat President Trump next November? What’s Next? The next debates, which will again feature two nights of ten candidates each, will take place in Detroit on July 30 and 31. For those debates, the qualification thresholds remain the same: Candidates must register at least 1% support in three DNC-approved polls or receive donations from 65,000 people including a minimum of 200 in at least 20 states. One candidate who did not qualify for the first round of debates has already qualified for the second round: Montana Governor Steve Bullock. However, because the DNC has capped the number of candidates on stage at 20, a series of tiebreakers will be used to determine who gets left off the stage. The bar to qualify gets significantly higher for the September debates, with at least 2% support needed in three DNC-approved polls, and 130,000 individual donors. That means that currently the only locks for the fall debates are Biden, Harris, Warren, Sanders, and Buttigieg, leaving candidates like Booker and O’Rourke on the bubble. Looking Ahead to the 2020 Calendar The Iowa Caucuses will take place on Monday, February 3rd, followed by the New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday the 11th. Harry Enten at CNN highlights the importance of Iowa and New Hampshire: No one has won a major party nomination since 1972 without coming in the top two in either Iowa or New Hampshire. And a strong showing in both states can turn a wide-open race into a blowout (see: John Kerry in 2004). The Nevada Caucuses take place on Saturday February 22nd, and the South Carolina Primary on Saturday the 29th. Super Tuesday, when Colorado will vote along with a significant portion of the country – including California and Texas – is Tuesday, March 3rd.
43 minutes | Jun 5, 2019
S2 EP 1: What the Heck Happened in 2018?
Smarter Politics is officially back for Season 2! In this episode, we discuss the extraordinary 2018 election in Colorado, and what it means moving forward to 2019 and 2020. We are glad you are back with us! Re-Introduction What have we been doing? Where has Magellan been? Why was the 2018 General Election Extraordinary? It was extraordinary because never has one political party, been so overwhelmingly rejected at every level of government by the voting electorate. Both Democratic and unaffiliated voters, participated at a level that has never happened before. For the first time ever in a Colorado mid-term election, unaffiliated voter turnout (918,091) and Democratic voter turnout (847,338) was higher than Republican turnout (810,143), and by a significant margin. By percentage of total vote, unaffiliated made up 35%, Democrats made up 33% and Republicans made up 32% of the total vote. As a comparison, in the 2014 mid-term election, Republican voter turnout was 774,923, Democratic voter turnout was 664,532 and unaffiliated voter turnout was 634,296. Comparing the 2018 midterm election to the 2014 midterm election, 502,209 more votes were cast in 2018 verses 2014. Of those 502,209 votes, 57% were registered as unaffiliated, 36% were Democratic and ONLY 7% were Republican. 2018 Voter Turnout Observations Republicans DID turn out to vote with a 3% increase from 2014. 2014=68% 2018=71% Voter enthusiasm was overwhelming among Democratic and unaffiliated voters. Among registered Democratic voters in 2018, 71% turned out to vote compared to just 59% in 2014, a 12-point increase. Unaffiliated voters increased their percentage of voter turnout by 14-points, from 46% in 2014 to 60% in 2018. From January 1 of 2018 to Election Day, 206,289 voters registered in Colorado. Of those that registered, 53% registered as unaffiliated, 27% registered as Democrat and 18% registered as Republican. A net gain of 18,474 Democratic voters to Republican voters. Of the 206,289 voters that registered 60% were 18-34 years old. Post-Election Survey of Unaffiliated Voters The Democrat Party has a net positive image rating among unaffiliated voters. 45% Favorable, 31% Unfavorable The Republican Party has a net negative image rating. 25% Favorable, 53% Unfavorable Donald Trump had a negative impact on all Republican candidates in Colorado, with 34% of unaffiliated voters saying they were less likely to vote for a Republican candidate because of his influence. President Trump’s job approval among unaffiliated voters was/is toxic. 31% Approve, 62% Disapprove (48% Strongly Disapprove) 2018 Governor Race Governor Polis – 53% (1,348,888) vs. Walker Stapleton - 43% (1,080,801) What happened? Why did Colorado Lose the State Senate? District 16 – Senator Neville (Tammy Story) Story - 56%, Neville - 41%, Gilman - 3% (Difference 12,249 votes) State Senate District 16 went from a R+5 district in the 2014 midterm to a D+2 district in 2018. However, unaffiliated turnout increased by 5% going from 33% in 2014 to 38% in 2018. 2014= Dem 31%, Rep 36%, Unaf 33% 2018= Dem 32%, Rep 30%, Unaf 38% (D+1, R-6, U+5) District 20 – Christine Jensen/Jessie Danielson Danielson - 54%, Jensen - 42%, Messick - 4% (Difference 10,872 votes) State Senate District 20 went from a R+4 district in the 2014 midterm to a D+3 district in 2018. Unaffiliated turnout increased by 7% going from 32% in 2014 to 39% in 2018. Those 7 points came directly from Republicans, with Republicans decreasing by 7%. 2014= Dem 32%, Rep 36%, Unaf 32% 2018= Dem 32%, Rep 29%, Unaf 39% (D0, R-7, U+7) District 22 – Tony Sanchez/Brittany Pettersen Pettersen - 58%, Sanchez - 42% (Difference 11,993 votes) State Senate District 22 went from a R+2 district in the 2014 midterm to a D+5 district in 2018. Just like in SD16, unaffiliated turnout increased by 5% going from 32% in 2014 to 37% in 2018. 2014= Dem 33%, Rep 35%, Unaf 32% 2018= Dem 34%, Rep 29%, Unaf 37% (D+1, R-6, U+5) District 24 – Senator Beth Martinez Humenik/Faith Winter Winter - 52%, Martinez Humenik - 40%, Matkowsky - 5%, Osborn – 3% (Difference 8,510 votes) State Senate District 24 went from being an even district in the 2014 midterm to a D+6 district in 2018. Unaffiliated turnout increased by 4% going from 34% in 2014 to 38% in 2018. 2014= Dem 33%, Rep 33%, Unaf 34% 2018= Dem 34%, Rep 28%, Unaf 38% (D+1, R-5, U+4) Looking Ahead to the 2019 General Election and Beyond Will turnout in an odd-year election have an increase in Democratic and unaffiliated voters? There will most likely be something on the ballot that intends to weaken TABOR in 2019, knowing the turnout demographics and the results of 2018, what do you think will happen with TABOR? Leading into next week, with the democrats having full control, was there an overreach in legislation from the state legislature this year?
72 minutes | Nov 15, 2017
S1 EP 41: What Happened in Virginia and What Does It Mean for 2018?
In this episode, we examine the results of Tuesday’s elections in Virginia and around the country and explore how they may impact the 2018 midterms. We also dig into the results for local races here in Colorado. Virginia Election Results On Tuesday night, Democrats finally got the post-Trump wins they’ve been waiting for, in Virginia and around the country. As reporter Gabriel Debenedetti notes for Politico: “Democratic leaders reset their expectations for the 2018 midterms. They’re now expecting a fundraising and candidate recruitment surge, powered by grassroots fury at the Trump administration.” Whether that surge materializes around the country remains to be seen. Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist has 5 Takeaways on Virginia’s Election Sweep for Democrats, pointing to the stark difference between Gillespie’s performance this year – 9 point loss – and his 2014 Senate race where he lost by less than a percentage point to Mark Warner. There are a few plausible explanations, but the simple fact is that it was a crushing loss for Gillespie. Still, Hillary Clinton did win Virginia in 2016, and so the top of the ticket isn’t the best place to see what’s been described as a Democratic “tsunami”. The real groundbreaking developments were in the Virginia House of Delegates, where Democrats turned a 66-34 Republican advantage into a tight battle for control that will come down to recounts. They were able to make such huge gains by focusing particularly on Northern Virginia districts where Hillary Clinton won last year. Of the 20 State House seats that saw significant changes from their 2015 results, 12 are located in Northern Virginia, and Democrats were able to flip 9 of them while putting one normally closely contested district comfortably out of reach. They also made gains in the Richmond suburbs (3 seats), Virginia Beach (2 seats), and one high profile race in the Blacksburg area. [We’ll post a spreadsheet breaking down results in these 20 seats along with our show notes]. This success didn’t happen overnight, and comes as the result of Democrats finally focusing on down ballot races in Virginia in a manner that they hope to replicate across the country during next year’s midterms. What does it mean for Republicans? Virginia Republican Party Chairman John Whitbeck acknowledged that was a “terrible night”: “Virginia has changed and is changing…68 percent of voters under the age of 45 voted Democrat. Minority populations continue to climb as a percent of Virginia’s population and…our nominees lost non-white voters 80 percent to 20 percent. If we do not find a way to appeal to these two groups, the results will be grim.” While also blaming the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate: “If no major items are passed in the U.S. Senate over the next year, the 2017 elections will be a preview of 2018 elections”. Colorado Election Results While there were no high profile statewide issues here in Colorado, local races provided plenty of intrigue. The races for Douglas County School Board, which has been in a prolonged court battle after pushing for a school voucher program, provided a resounding message against the conservative slate, as each conservative candidate lost by at least 15 percentage points. It is the latest show of local activism against a divisive school board here in Colorado. Voters in Broomfield passed Question 301, which gives the city more oversight over oil and gas operations, by a comfortable 15-point margin. The campaign attracted nearly $400,000 in outside money, and a battle over the legality of Question 301 is inevitable. Voters throughout El Paso County and in Colorado Springs passed several ballot issues and tax increases for everything from schools and firefighters to widening the I-25 gap and upgrading the stormwater infrastructure in Colorado Springs. As the Colorado Springs Gazette editorial notes: “The results prove taxpayers are confident in the regions’ economic future and are satisfied with political leadership.”
77 minutes | Oct 19, 2017
S1 EP 40: A Look at the 2018 U.S. Senate Map
In this episode, we look at the 2018 U.S. Senate map and discuss current events as they relate to each state. We’ll focus on Steve Bannon’s efforts to recruit candidates to challenge Republican incumbents. 2018 U.S. Senate Map Today we are going to cover 19 states that have an election for the United States Senate. The 2018 elections for the United States Senate is heading up. Politico – Democrats see path to Senate majority in 2018 – where Senator Chris Murphy comments that: “The map feels a little different today than it did a few weeks ago. We might be playing a little more offense. At the same time, we don’t have a lot of bandwidth for offense given the defense we have to play.” At the same time, Senate Republicans are increasingly nervous, and are worried that if they fail to pass tax reform it would lead to further disgust among both donors and voters. Still, NRSC chair Cory Gardner notes that: “We run knowing the majority is on the line. There’s no doubt about it. But the fact is, they have 10 seats in Donald Trump states that we look very good in right now.” And it’s true, the map still heavily favors Republicans. For Democrats to actually take the majority, they would have to defend all 25 of their seats, plus win in Nevada, Arizona, and one of Alabama, Tennessee or Texas. That would be a tall order, but let’s take a look at what’s happening in each individual state to see how realistic their chances are… Alabama – While not technically a 2018 race, there will be a special election in Alabama on December 12, 2017, between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. Public polling from JMC Analytics has shown Jones within single-digits. While strange things can happen in special elections, it is very difficult to imagine Doug Jones winning this race. President Trump carried the state by 28 points, and Senator Richard Shelby won by very similar margin last year. Robert Bentley also won by a very similar margin in the 2014 Governor’s race, and Mitt Romney won by 22 points in 2012. Democrats seem to think that Roy Moore is such a weak candidate that he opens up the door to a competitive race. As Tim Kaine notes in the Politico article linked above: “He [Jones] certainly has a dramatically better chance against Roy Moore than he would have had against Luther [Strange]”. Still, very, very much a longshot. Arizona – Arizona will be a high profile state next year, beginning in the Republican Primary. Jeff Flake ensured that with his very public criticism of President Trump, criticism which the President and former advisor Steve Bannon have certainly reacted to. The second major article that we’ll link to this week is from Bloomberg Politics over the weekend: Bannon Plans to Back Challengers to Most GOP Senators Running in 2018. Senator Flake is at or near the top of that list, and Bannon plans to back former state Senator Kelli Ward (who also ran against Senator McCain in 2016) in her primary challenge against him. What makes Arizona different from Alabama is that it could be very much in play in the general election. While President Trump won the state, he did not receive a majority of the vote. Senator McCain received just 54% of the vote last year, a figure very similar to Mitt Romney’s performance in 2012 and Governor Doug Ducey’s performance in 2014. The question is not whether Kelli Ward has a real chance to beat Senator Flake in a primary – JMC Analytics has her beating him by 26 points in an August Republican Primary automated survey – but whether she would lose the general election to Kyrsten Sinema, who Democrats view as a very strong candidate. Florida – Florida will be one of the toughest states for Democrats to defend next year. President Trump won with 49% of the vote last year, while Marco Rubio received 52% of the vote in his Senate Race. Governor Rick Scott won each of his gubernatorial bids in 2010 and 2014 by 48-49%, while Senator Ben Nelson received 55% of the vote in a great Democratic year in 2012 in which President Obama also carried the state with 50% of the vote. The big question in Florida is whether Governor Scott eventually enters the Senate race. A late summer poll showed him tied with Senator Nelson, and Scott’s entry into the race as a candidate who can largely self-fund would free up resources for the GOP to spend in other competitive states. Indiana – Indiana will be an even tougher defend for the Democrats than Florida, as President Trump carried the state by 57% last year and Mitt Romney won with 54% of the vote in 2012. It is widely believed that Senator Joe Donnelly benefited from running against Richard Mourdock in 2012. Mourdock defeated incumbent Senator Richard Lugar in the Republican Primary and drew criticism for comments about pregnancy and rape during the general election campaign. Republican congressmen Luke Messer and Todd Rokita are battling for the Republican nomination, and whether the winner is ultimately able to unseat Donnelly will likely depend on whether he can “nationalize” the race and paint Donnelly as just another vote for the national Democratic Party. Donnelly is about as well suited as a Democrat could be for this red state – he is pro-life, he supported the Keystone XL pipeline and he opposed President Obama’s executive action on immigration. Even given his strengths as a candidate, winning re-election will be a difficult task. Michigan – Another state won by President Trump where Democrats are on defense. However, this is a very different situation from Indiana. President Trump won by just under 11,000 votes, and while Rick Snyder has won the last two gubernatorial elections, there is little precedent for Michigan voters sending Republicans to the U.S. Senate. Since 1978, only Spencer Abraham has won election as a Senator, for one term from 1995 through 2001. Still, President Trump provided a theoretical roadmap for how a Republican can win in Michigan, and over the summer there was some buzz over the potential of Kid Rock challenging Senator Debbie Stabenow. It’s best to take a wait-and-see approach before deciding how realistic Republicans’ chances are here. Mississippi – Mississippi is worth mentioning briefly only because State Senator Chris McDaniel is being encouraged by Steve Bannon to challenge incumbent Senator Roger Wicker. McDaniel challenged incumbent Republican Senator Thad Cochran in 2014. In that Republican primary McDaniel won the primary and then lost in a very close runoff election to Cochran 51% to 49%. A win for McDaniel in the primary would give Bannon and Trump administration another ally in Washington. Missouri – Missouri will be a very difficult state for Democrats to defend. President Trump won with 57% of the vote, and even a rising-star Democratic candidate like Jason Kander came up short last year. And while Senator Claire McCaskill and former Governor Jay Nixon each won easily with 55% of the vote in 2012, McCaskill’s victory may be another instance of good fortune in facing a weaker Republican candidate (the now infamous Todd Akin). In that respect she is similar to Senator Donnelly in Indiana. Senator McCaskill very consciously portrays herself as a moderate Democrat, and she will need to continue to distance herself from the national Democratic party to have a chance at holding her seat. It’s also very much worth mentioning that Republicans now have a candidate, state Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is a serious challenger who may actually be able to straddle the divide between establishment Republicans and the anti-establishment forces led by Bannon. Montana – President Trump received 56% of the vote in Montana, marking this seat as another potentially difficult defend for Democratic Senator Jon Tester. Still, the state does have a history of electing moderate democrats like Governor Steve Bullock and Senator Tester with narrow margins. And Republicans are having some difficulty fielding a top-tier candidate to run against Tester. This is a state where it’s probably best to take a wait-and-see approach to handicapping the race. Nebraska – Worth briefly mentioning because, again, Senator Deb Fischer could draw a primary challenge, and if she were defeated Bannon/Trump would gain an ally in Washington. Nevada – Similar to the situation in Arizona, Senator Dean Heller has sought to distance himself from President Trump, and has therefore drawn criticism from Bannon and from the White House. Public polling in this race is all over the map, but suffice to say that Danny Tarkanian is a serious challenger in the Republican primary. Unlike Arizona, Hillary Clinton won Nevada last year, making Heller the only GOP Senator to face re-election in a state won by Hillary Clinton. His defeating Tarkanian in the primary may be Republicans’ only shot at holding this seat. North Dakota – Similar to Senator Tester in Montana, Senator Heidi Heitkamp represents a state where President Trump won easily last year (63%). That alone makes Senator Heitkamp one of the more vulnerable Democrats in the Senate, and her strategy of working with President Trump is probably a smart one. State Senator Tom Campbell is the only declared Republican candidate, and his ability to self-fund means this will likely be a very expensive campaign by North Dakota standards. Ohio – Ohio is another quintessential battleground where Democrats are on defense. President Trump won with 52% of the vote, President Obama won with 51% of the vote in 2012, and each party holds a Senate seat. Senator Sherrod Brown is up for reelection after a narrow victory (51%) in 2012. The 2018 race will likely be a rematch, with state treasurer Josh Mandel again taking on Brown. Mandel currently has a substantial lead in Republican Primary polling. Senator Brown is gearing up for what should be a very competitive race. Pennsylvania – Senator Bob Casey has taken s
38 minutes | Aug 30, 2017
S1 EP 39: Redistricting is Coming
In this episode we talk all about the art of redistricting, gerrymandering, what it is and why it matters. Segment 1: What is Redistricting? Simply put, redistricting is the process by which new congressional and state legislative districts are drawn. The reason redistricting is necessary is that population growth does not occur equally across states or districts, and so following the completion of the United States Census every ten years, the districts must be “redrawn” to ensure that districts have nearly equal populations. For the 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives, this means that every ten years, some states lose one or more congressional districts while others gain them. For the last round of redistricting, following the 2010 Census, ten states (IL, IA, LA, MA, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH and PA) lost at least one district, while eight states (AZ, FL, GA, NV, SC, TX, UT, and WA) gained seats, with Texas gaining four. Looking at projections on who will gain and lose seats after 2020, a lot of the same midwestern states are losing seats, with Texas again a big gainer of 3 seats and other Sun Belt states set to gain as well. For state legislative districts, since each state has a fixed number of districts that does not change, district boundaries are simply redrawn according to where relative population growth occurred within the state. Segment 2: Sounds Important…So Who Draws the Lines? Obviously, even in instances where a state is not gaining or losing seats, the district boundaries will still need to change to reflect the current population of the state. In general, each state has guidelines related to the contiguity and compactness or the districts, and some states consider “communities of interest” and existing political boundaries. The exact process for drawing the lines varies by state, but the most important question is: Who’s in charge? In 37 of the 50 states, the state legislature draws Congressional lines, meaning that is the predominant method by which Congressional districts are drawn. In an additional 4 states (AZ, CA, ID and WA), an independent commission draws the lines, and in Hawaii and New Jersey a politician commission fills that role. For state legislative lines, the state legislature is responsible in 37 states, while independent commissions handle the job in 6 states and politician commissions are responsible in 7 states, including our home state of Colorado. Here in Colorado, the 11-person reapportionment commission consists of one person appointed by each party’s leader in both the house and the senate, plus three members appointed by the governor and four members appointed by the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court (currently, Roy Romer appointee Nancy Rice). Which party holds a majority on these commissions is often determined by who holds the governorship. Practically, this makes control of the state legislature and governor’s mansion critically important to the redistricting process. With full control, a political party is able to draw districts that significantly cement and enhance their power within a state using a process called partisan gerrymandering. As New York Times Magazine staff writer Emily Bazelon notes in a recent article on redistricting, partisan gerrymandering in 17 Republican controlled states (including some states that are traditional red states, like OH, MI, PA and WI) allowed Republicans in 2012 to win 72% of the seats despite winning only 53% of the vote. Similarly, in the 6 states where Democrats had full control, their candidates won only 56% of the vote but won 71% of the seats. Segment 3: That Doesn’t Sound Fair…What about Redistricting Law? Believe it or not, the problem of districts being unfairly apportioned used to be a lot worse. As late as the early 1960’s there was a state assembly district in Vermont that had just 36 people, while the largest district in the state had 35,000. And a rural California state senate district had 14,000 voters compared to Los Angeles’s only state senate district which had more than 6 million voters. Beginning in the early 1960’s the Supreme Court intervened to end these disparities, claiming jurisdiction over questions of legislative apportionment in Baker v. Carr (1962), and establishing the doctrine of “one person, one vote” for both state legislative and congressional districts. Practically, what this means is that districts have to be roughly equal in population, so that a vote in one district is worth as much as a vote in another. Federal law, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, also attempts to limit gerrymandering that is racially discriminatory, stating that: “No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by state or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” In the context of redistricting, that means that plans can’t be intended to dilute minority votes, and they also can’t cause “retrogression” in minority political opportunity, whether intended or not. Prior to 2013, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act required certain states and jurisdictions to seek preclearance from the Justice Department when redrawing lines, as described here. However, in the case of Shelby v. Holder (2013), the Supreme Court struck down the coverage formula that was used to require preclearance, based on the fact that it did not rely upon current data. So while Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was not struck down, most of the jurisdictions that have had to seek preclearance for new redistricting plans in the past no longer have to do so. In an upcoming decision that will have far-reaching implications for how redistricting is done, the Supreme Court will consider in Gill v. Whitford (which centers on Wisconsin’s 2011 redistricting plan) whether partisan gerrymandering (as opposed to racial gerrymandering) violates the constitution. As Bazelon notes in her article, the plaintiffs aren’t asking the Supreme Court to stop gerrymandering entirely – they are simply asking the Court to say that it’s possible for it to go too far. They are also offering a second argument that comes from the 1st Amendment, that partisan gerrymandering “subjects a group of voters or their party to disfavored treatment by reason of their views.”
64 minutes | Aug 24, 2017
S1 EP 38: What Does Steve Bannon’s White House Exit Mean for the Republican Party?
In this episode, we examine the behavior and agenda of former White House Senior Advisor Steve Bannon. We discuss his politics, his influence on Donald Trump, and his self-described enemies list. Most importantly, what impact will Steve Bannon have on the thinking of Republican primary voters. Segment 1: Who is Steve Bannon and Why Does He Matter? Steve Bannon is 62 years old and has a very interesting background. He grew up in Virginia, served in the U.S. Navy, graduated from Harvard Business School in 1985, was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, was a documentary filmmaker and ran the conservative newspaper and website Breitbart News. Some interesting side notes, he brokered a deal that landed him an ownership stake in blockbuster TV series Seinfeld. He also produced documentaries about the Tea Party called The Battle for America in 2010, and The Undefeated in 2011. In August of 2016 Steve Bannon was introduced as the CEO of Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign. He was credited for sharpening Donald Trump’s populist message, hammering home fears of open borders, and promote the distrust of Hillary Clinton. After Donald Trump’s surprising victory, Steve Bannon was named senior counselor to the President. As soon as he was sworn in Steve Bannon made it clear how he viewed the world and his job in the White House. At the annual Conservative Political Action Committee conference on February 23rd he outlined the Trump Administration’s agenda as focusing on “national security and sovereignty”, “economic nationalism” and the “deconstruction of the administrative state”. His description of “deconstruction of the administrative state” is as follows: “If you look at these cabinet appointees, they were selected for a reason and that is the deconstruction. The way the progressive left runs, is if they can’t get it passed, they’re just going to put in some sort of regulation in an agency. That’s all going to be deconstructed and I think that that’s why this regulatory thing is so important.” Steve Bannon was and still is very critical of journalists and the media, calling it a “running war”. This is no surprise considering Donald Trump’s use of this strategy during the campaign and using the term “fake news”. After being on the job for a week, on January 26th Steve Bannon argued that news organizations had been “humiliated” by the election outcome and repeatedly described the media as the “opposition party” of the administration. During the interview he referred to himself as “Darth Vader”,His exact words were: “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” Mr. Bannon said in an interview on Wednesday. “I want you to quote this,” Mr. Bannon added. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the President of the United States.” “The mainstream media has not fired or terminated anyone associated with following our campaign,” Mr. Bannon said. “Look at the Twitter feeds of those people: They were outright activists of the Clinton campaign.” (He did not name specific reporters or editors.) “That’s why you have no power,” he added. “You were humiliated.” “The media has zero integrity, zero intelligence, and no hard work.” “You’re the opposition party,” he said. “Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party.” Steve Bannon has shown a deep hatred toward people that he called “globalists”. In particular, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, and National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn. Bannon’s project centered on opposition to what he derisively called “globalism”: the idea of tearing down borders and linking countries through trade, immigration, and international institutions like NATO and the United Nations. He believed that Brexit and Trump’s rise in particular showed the way for a global uprising of so-called “nationalists” or “populists” against the status quo. He warned of an “invasion” of Europe by Muslims; he emphasized the need for countries that have a “Judeo-Christian” heritage to band together to fight radical Islam. The scale of the threat, Bannon has suggested, is akin to what the West faced in the 1930s. China, in Bannon’s eyes, was also a fundamental threat. He has predicted an outright war between the United States and China — two nuclear-armed powers — in under 10 years. “We’re at economic war with China ... the economic war with China is everything,” he said. “One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it’s going be them if we go down this path.” This apocalyptic vision of global conflict really did drive Bannon’s behavior in Washington. What were Steve Bannon’s final thoughts at the end of last week as he returned to run Breitbart News? Some media reports that he told associates that he has a “killing machine” in Breitbart News, and that he would be waging “thermonuclear war” against the “globalists”. How big is the “Bannon” wing of the Republican Party? Harry Enten of fivethirtyeight.com provides an excellent analysis answering this question. David, Ryan and Courtney discuss what this all means for Republican candidates, primary voters and elected officials.
65 minutes | Aug 10, 2017
S1 EP 37: GOP Congressional Agenda, Sen. Jeff Flake, Gov. Jim Justice and Walker Stapleton’s Super PAC
In this episode we discuss a grab bag of political topics, including the challenges facing the Republican Congress when they return from their August recess, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake’s criticism of President Trump, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s switch to the Republican Party and Walker Stapleton’s super-PAC. Segment 1: Congressional Recess • The basis for our first segment on the Congressional recess is a Wall Street Journal article (Congressional Recess, Full Plate Keep the Heat on GOP Lawmakers) from over the weekend. • The article highlights the desire of Congressional Republicans to shift their focus to tax reform over the next four weeks, but notes that as members return home and meet with constituents, they may find it difficult to move on from the contentious legislative fight over healthcare reform. • The problem for Congressional Republicans on healthcare is really twofold. For one, many voters in swing states and districts still support the ACA, and are therefore very critical of attempts to repeal it. At the same time, Republican voters are more likely to blame Congress for gridlock in Washington – including, of course, over healthcare – than they are to blame President Trump. This leaves Republican Congressmen, like Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner here in Colorado, to take the brunt of criticism from both sides. • Complicating the plans for tax reform even further is the fact that Congress is faced with the prospect of a fight over raising the federal debt limit by September 29th and keeping the government funded beyond September 30th – a process that may be made more difficult if conservatives within the Republican Party include controversial items like funding for the border wall. Segment 2: Jeff Flake’s Criticism of President Trump • Senator Jeff Flake’s new book, Conscience of a Conservative, is highly critical of President Trump, claims Republicans are “in denial” about the President and calls on them to rebuke him and return to their principles. • Excerpted here in Politico Flake says of his fellow Republicans: “It was we conservatives who rightly and robustly asserted our constitutional prerogatives as a co-equal branch of government when a Democrat was in the White House but who, despite solemn vows to do the same in the event of a Trump presidency, have maintained an unnerving silence as instability has ensued. To carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties. And tremendous power of denial.” • He continues: “Under our Constitution, there simply are not that many people who are in a position to do something about an executive branch in chaos. As the first branch of government (Article I), the Congress was designed expressly to assert itself at just such moments. It is what we talk about when we talk about “checks and balances.” Too often, we observe the unfolding drama along with the rest of the country, passively, all but saying, ‘Someone should do something!’ without seeming to realize that that someone is us. And so, that unnerving silence in the face of an erratic executive branch is an abdication, and those in positions of leadership bear particular responsibility.” • It’s at this point that he recalls former leaders in Congress like Senators Bob Dole, Howard Baker and Richard Lugar, men who were “vigorous partisans, yes, but even more important, principled constitutional conservatives whose primary interest was in governing and making America truly great.” • Senator Flake then proposes three steps for Republicans to take: First, we shouldn’t hesitate to speak out if the president “plays to the base” in ways that damage the Republican Party’s ability to grow and speak to a larger audience. Second, Republicans need to take the long view when it comes to issues like free trade: Populist and protectionist policies might play well in the short term, but they handicap the country in the long term. Third, Republicans need to stand up for institutions and prerogatives, like the Senate filibuster, that have served us well for more than two centuries. • Jeff Flake’s approval rating in a recent poll by Public Policy Polling was 18% approve, 62% disapprove. Segment 3: West Virginia Governor Jim Justice • In other political news from last week, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice switched parties to become a Republican, accompanied at a rally by President Trump. • Justice explained the move by saying: “Like it or not, but the Democrats walked away from me…West Virginia, I can’t help you anymore by being a Democratic governor.” • Justice, a coal mining and agriculture businessman who is the richest man in West Virginia, refused to endorse Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign and won election as a Democrat despite President Trump’s 42-point victory in the state. • Given his past, Justice’s switch to the GOP is unsurprising. What will be more interesting is where the West Virginia Democratic Party goes from here. The two men who ran against Justice in last year’s Democratic Primary, former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and former State Senate President Jeff Kessler, were both critical of the state party in the aftermath of Justice’s switch. • Goodwin wrote in a Facebook post: “This should be a huge wakeup call for the current leadership of the West Virginia Democratic Party. Character and integrity matter.” And Kessler was far more pointed in his critique, saying: “I thought Jim was a creation of the Manchin machine, and now he’s turned into Frankenstein” and adding, that Justice was a “Democrat by convenience, not conviction”, who used the party after he was “pursued and coaxed” by party leaders. Segment 4: Walker Stapleton’s Super-PAC • A big political story out of Colorado last week was the reporting on presumptive gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton’s “super PAC-style” group that is lining up big donors before his official announcement as a candidate. • So long as Stapleton does not announce, he can help steer donors toward the group, Better Colorado Now, whose purpose according to state filings is: “To oppose Democrat candidates for governor.” • The group is drawing comparisons to Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise super-PAC, and is being heralded as the first major super-PAC on the scene in Colorado.
67 minutes | Aug 3, 2017
S1 EP 36: Reviewing the Fundraising Totals for Colorado Candidates
In this episode, we discuss the latest fundraising totals for the Democrat and Republican candidates for Governor and other down ballot races. Segment #1 Fundraising Totals for Governor In the first segment we discuss how much money candidates raised in the election for Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer and Congressional District 5. Republican Victor Mitchell - $3 million, $2.7 million on hand Republican Doug Robinson - $208,000, personal loan of $57,000 Republican George Brauchler - $183,000, including $12,700 transfer Republican Lew Gaiter – Larimer County Commissioner - $6,270 Republican Steve Barlock – Trump supporter – just announced Democrat Mike Johnston, State Senator, $301,365, first quarter $632,721 Democrat Cary Kennedy, former Treasurer, Deputy Mayor of Denver - $339,680 Democrat Jared Polis, Congressman - $250,000 self-check Democrat Ed Perlmutter, Congressman - $340,000 Attorney General Republican Cynthia Coffman, incumbent - $8,050 Democrat Phil Weiser, former dean of CU Law School, - $355,535 Democrat Brad Levin, - $117,102 Democrat Michael Dougherty, Jefferson County prosecutor - $51,845 Democrat Joe Salazar, Thornton State Rep., - $13,262 Treasurer Republican Justin Everett - $20,348 Republican Brita Horn - $17,655 Democrat Steve Lebsock - $14,014 Colorado CD-05 Primary Republican Doug Lamborn - $73,000, $62,000 in PAC money Republican Owen Hill - $228,000 Republican Darryl Glenn - $150,000 from US Senate Campaign Segment #2 The Trump Administration’s Staff Changes In this segment, we have a short discussion about the departure of Sean Spicer and other pending staff changes at the White House. We also discuss Attorney General Jeff Sessions being under fire from the President. Segment #3 Ellen Singer, Magellan Strategies intern from Georgetown University In the final segment we talk with our intern and what she has learned from working at Magellan Strategies.
69 minutes | Jul 27, 2017
S1 EP 35: An Interview with Ian Silverii of Progress Now Colorado Part 2
In this episode, continue our discussion with ProgressNow Colorado’s executive director Ian Silverii. We discuss the most competitive State House districts in Colorado for the upcoming 2018 elections. Overview of Battleground State House Districts Following up on our discussion of the Colorado’s battleground Senate Districts podcast, we now take a look at the State House, where Democrats won back three seats that they lost in 2014 and now hold a 37-28 advantage. Republicans need to flip five seats, and so we narrow our discussion to five districts plus a bonus Pueblo County district. House District 3 – Dem Jeff Bridges, 52.5% in 2016 / Kagan 50.7% in 2014 This Arapahoe County district has long been elusive for Republicans. It is culturally and economically diverse, as it includes Cherry Hills Village and Greenwood Village to the east and Englewood and Sheridan to the west. Active registration shows a plurality of unaffiliated voters, 19,149, with 16,965 Democrats and 15,340 Republicans. In 2014, Republican Candice Benge came within 445 votes of defeating incumbent Daniel Kagan in what was a good year for Republicans. In 2016, shifts in turnout and President Trump’s unpopularity in the district led to a more comfortable 2,000 vote victory for Democrat Jeff Bridges, though Republican Katy Brown easily outperformed President Trump within the district. 2014 Results District 3 2016 Results District 3 House District 17 – Dem Tony Exum Sr., 49.4% in 2016 / Roupe, 47.3% in 2014 This El Paso County district seems to change hands every cycle. In 2014, Republican Kit Roupe won this district by 289 votes and then in 2016 Democrat incumbent Tony Exum won it back by 1,832 votes. This district traditionally has very low turnout in midterms. It includes central and southeast Colorado Springs and includes many members of the military. It is also the only majority-minority district in El Paso County, and is one of the smallest districts by registration with only 32,843 active voters. Registration by party is 12,813 unaffiliated voters, 10,608 Democrats and 8,576 Republicans. 2014 Results District 17 2016 Results State Representative - District 17 House District 30, Dem Dafna Michaelson Jenet, 54.1% in 2016, Windholz 50.2% in 2014 In 2016, Democrat Dafna Michaelson Jenet ousted incumbent Republican JoAnn Windholz by 2,500 votes. Registration in this district is 14,865 Democrat, 10,033 Republican and 15,198 unaffiliated. This is one of the three seats won by Republicans in 2014 that was lost in 2016, and so it probably will be viewed as a pick-up opportunity. Whether that is a realistic possibility will depend on just how much turnout reverts to typical midterm levels, as well as on the strength of the Republican candidate. 2014 Results District 30 2016 Results State Representative - District 30 House District 33, Dem Matt Gray, 52.1% in 2016, Primavera 50.1% in 2014 This seat is the best example of a pure toss-up, with voter registration at 18,645 Democrats, 16,394 Republicans and 23,167 unaffiliated voters. What is surprising about this district is incumbent Matt Gray’s win margin in 2016 only being 52.1%. We would have expected it to be higher, considering a favorable environment for Democrats and the fact that Trump was incredibly unpopular in this district (36% of the vote). If Republicans field a strong candidate, this district is in play, despite what will be an unusually favorable midterm environment for Democrats. 2014 Results District 33 2016 Results State Representative - District 33 House District 46, Dem Daneya Esgar, 52.2% in 2014, Unopposed in 2016 Interestingly, Republicans did not field a candidate in this race last year. Still, the fact that President Trump won the district could show that this is a surprising pick-up opportunity for Republicans. With Pueblo as a source of fascination of Colorado politicos after the 2016 election, expect at least some interest in contesting this southwest Pueblo district. Registration in HD 46 is heavily Democratic, with 22,097 registered Democrats compared to 13,384 Republicans and 15,521 unaffiliated voters. 2014 Results District 46 House District 59, Dem Barbara McLachlan, 50.7% in 2016, Rep. J. Paul Brown, 50.2% in 2014 In one of the more closely watched districts over the past two cycles, Rep. Barbara McLachlan narrowly edged out J. Paul Brown in 2016 after Brown’s even narrower victory in 2014. This district will certainly be one to watch next year. Active registration is at 18,993 unaffiliated voters, 18,843 Republicans and 16,943 Democrats. 2014 Results District 59 2016 Results
75 minutes | Jul 20, 2017
S1 EP 34: An Interview with Ian Silverii of Progress Now Colorado (Part 1 of 2)
In this episode, we welcome our first guest on the show, ProgressNow Colorado’s Ian Silverii. Ian Silverii provides an experienced and informed Democrat point of view to our discussion about the national and Colorado political landscape. Topics that are discussed include Congressman Ed Perlmutter’s withdrawal from the Governor’s race, Donald Trump’s influence on our elections, and a wide range of state and national political trends. This episode is a good one. Segment 1: Introduction of Ian Silverii of Progress Now Colorado Congressman Perlmutter’s withdrawal from the Governor’s race, coupled with a seemingly ever-increasing GOP field for Governor, has made for an interesting start to the summer. What does it all mean for next year? With Perlmutter’s exit, will Jared Polis be able to easily lock up the Democratic nomination for Governor? Or are we still looking at a bruising primary? And in the age of Trump, how should each party approach the 2018 midterms? Ian Silverii biography, worked for state party and the Democrat legislative committee. Segment 2: The Democrat Primary We discuss Britany Petersen impressive fundraising haul of $170,000, thoughts about the Democratic primary in the 7th Congressional District. Little PAC money and 90% in Colorado. Segment 3: Thoughts on Ed Perlmutter’s Exit from Governor Primary We discuss Ed Perlmutter exiting the Democrat Governor race in Colorado. He was tired, heart was not in it, and what are Democrat primary voters looking for? Ian discusses the quality of the Democrat candidates, including state Sen. Mike Johnson, Jared Polis and Cary Kennedy. Ian talks about the confusion for two hours that he did not know if Ed Perlmutter was going to stay in Congress, leaving the three Democrat candidates in limbo. Ian and Britany did not know this was coming. One observation is that the Democrat field has raised a lot more money than the Republican field. Is Ed Perlmutter taking a breather, and will he challenge Cory Gardner in 2020? Was there any deal done with Congressman Jared Polis? We talk about Jared Polis having a 10-year record in Congress that will be vetted very closely by opponents. We also talk about Jared Polis’s three issue priorities (employee profit sharing, renewable energy by 2040, fully funded public pre-school) when he announced his candidacy. Segment 4: A Discussion About Renewable Energy in Colorado The conversation covers the importance of renewable energy as an issue for Coloradans, and how the politics of it has played out the past few years. Segment 5: A GOP Candidate’s Challenge of Trump Loyalty & Winning Over the Middle There is a real challenge for the Republican Governor candidates to win over primary voters. They will have to embrace Donald Trump’s policies to win over the Republican base, and then turn to the middle to win the general election. In this segment, we discuss Magellan polling that shows how unpopular Donald Trump’s policies are with unaffiliated voters in Colorado. We also discuss the dysfunction of the Republican majorities in Congress trying to get anything done. We also discuss the inability of the Republican majority to repeal and replace Obamacare. Segment 6: Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner Constituent Strategies in This Environment This segment discusses Congressman Mike Coffman’s strategy and chances in 2018, and his courage of holding town halls with some of his angry constituents. We also discuss Sen. Cory Gardner’s different strategy, and how it could harm his standing with Colorado voters. This segment also covers how the environment was the exact opposite for Democrat legislators in 2009 when Democrat voters where passing the Affordable Care Act. Segment 7: Democrat and Republican Strategies for the 2018 Election Cycle What do the results of the 2017 special elections for Congress mean for 2018? In this segment, we really get into the numbers and talk about similarities to the 2006 Democrat wave election year. We also talk about how Rep. Mike Coffman, and other Republican candidates in swing districts must demonstrate a separation from Donald Trump to be successful holding onto their seat. Segment 8: Who is in Charge of the Democrat Party? In this segment, we talk about the problems a political party faces when it does not have a clear leader and messenger like Barack Obama. We talk about the strongest groups within the Democrat Party, including teacher unions, Emily’s List, and environmental groups and if they are going to be able to work together in 2018. We also make comparisons to strong Republican organizations like Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks.
49 minutes | Jul 13, 2017
S1 EP 33: Five Insights From the Clinton Campaign Memoir, Shattered
In this episode, the Magellan team discusses five insights into the 2016 Clinton Presidential Campaign memoir, Shattered. It is a fascinating book, and delivers a well-documented, truthful story of what happened to the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016. Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign is a New York Times best seller that came out this past April. The book is co-authored by veteran journalists Jonathan Allen of Politico and Bloomberg News, and senior White House correspondent for the The Hill, Amie Parnes. These journalists were very familiar with their subject, having penned another book about Hillary Clinton back in 2014, called HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton. That book told a mostly positive story of Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. Insight #1: It Was Never Clear Why Hillary was Running Ask yourself, what was Hillary Clinton’s message? Why was she running for President? The first chapter of the book, centered on the run-up to her official campaign announcement, describes a chaotic speech writing process with too many cooks in the kitchen, a process that attempted to articulate why she was running. As a source close to Hillary describes: This was the chance to make a credible persuasive case for why she wants to be President. She had to answer the why question. It’s not because of her mother. Her mother’s an inspiration, but that is not why. It has to sort of feel like kind of a call to action, a galvanizing, ‘I’m bringing us together around this larger-than-all-of-us’ idea or cause, and I don’t think it did that. I don’t think it did either of those. (p. 17) Another top aide is more blunt: “I would have had a reason for running…or I wouldn’t have run.” (p. 18) Insight #2: The Campaign Did Not Conduct Any Traditional Polling in the Month Before Election Day, and Relied Much Too Heavily on Analytics (Which Were Wrong) Jumping ahead to Election Night, it’s revealed that the Clinton Campaign relied much too heavily on their analytics and their predictive modeling of the electorate: …John Anzalone tapped out a message to a reporter who asked what was happening. “Wish we knew,” he wrote. “Our analytics models were just really off. Time to go back to traditional polling. This happened in the primaries as well. They just put too much faith in analytics. We did not do any tracking by pollsters for the last month. Just maddening.” (p. 381) As Anzalone notes, relying so heavily on the analytics wouldn’t have been such a huge problem, except for the fact that the models were wrong. For example, early on Election Night, it became clear to on-the-ground operatives that Hillary was in trouble in Florida, and her campaign was caught completely off guard: Yeah, Trump was winning exurban and rural areas, but surely Democratic hot spots like Miami-Dade and Broward would erase the deficit. No, Schale explained, Trump’s numbers weren’t just big, they were unreal. In rural Polk County, smack-dab in the center of the state, Hillary would collect 3,000 more votes than Obama did in 2012 – but Trump would add more than 25,000 votes to Mitt Romney’s total. In Pasco County, a swath of suburbs north of Tampa- St. Petersburg, Trump outran Romney by 30,000 votes. Pasco was one of the counties Schale was paying special attention to because the Tampa area tended to attract retirees from the Rust Belt – folks whose political leaning reflected those of hometowns in the industrial Midwest. In particular, Schale could tell, heavily white areas were coming in hard for Trump… A frightening realization slowly took hold of Mook and Kriegel as they watched results pour in from must-win states. Their vaunted model was way off in Florida. Worse, they had missed the mark in North Carolina too. (p. 375-377) Earlier in the book, on page 367, we learn about campaign manager Robby Mook’s rationale for the decision to rely heavily on analytics: He had learned from David Plouffe…that old-school polling should be used for testing messages and gauging the sentiments of the electorate and that analytics were just as good for tracking which candidate was ahead and by how much in each state. Plus, the analytics were quicker and much cheaper. (emphasis added) The question then becomes, why, on a campaign with incredible resources, were they pinching pennies when it came to traditional polling? It truly was a crippling mistake, because it meant that they couldn’t see what was happening on the ground, particularly in Rust Belt states, and they couldn’t re-allocate campaign resources in an attempt to help save Michigan and Wisconsin, which were absolutely crucial to any of the scenarios in which Hillary could hit 270 Electoral College votes. There is another factor at play here, however. By August, the campaign knew that Hillary was unlikely to win in Ohio or Iowa, but “the imperative to avoiding signaling this to the press and the public drove some of the decision-making. That is, they kept real campaigns going on in those states just to keep up the appearance that they were competitive.” (p. 312) Insight #3: Hillary’s Failure to Win the Votes of Working-Class White Voters Should Not Have Been Surprising…Bernie Did A Lot of Damage Of course, we don’t need Shattered to know that the Rust Belt had the potential to be very problematic for Hillary. We can know that just from looking at Democratic Primary Election results. Bernie bested her by nearly 20,000 votes in Michigan, 32,000 votes in Indiana and a whopping 135,000 votes in Wisconsin. Still, the book provides fascinating insight into the interworkings of the campaign and its failure to appeal to working-class whites, particularly in Chapter 11, Canary in the Auto Plant: On one call…Hillary pushed for information on why Bernie killed her with working-class whites, the demographic group that had been her most consistent support network in 2008…She had counted on adding parts of the Obama coalition to her white working-class base this time around, but it felt like those once-loyal friends had abandoned her. “Why aren’t they with me? Why can’t we bring them on board?” she demanded. (p. 177-178) Allen and Parnes describe how she received conflicting input from her campaign team and advisors, with younger advisors believing in the “Obama coalition-plus” model, while older staff thought she should have started with her base from the 2008 Primaries, meaning “working class…not just working-class white – women, firefighters.” The authors then provide their own explanation for Hillary’s troubles with the working class: The real answer: she’d become the candidate of minority voters on social justice issues while Bernie was hitting her as a corrupt, Wall Street-loving champion of the “rigged” financial system that took advantage of working-class voters. (p.178) Insight #4: Hillary’s Campaign Failed to Focus on Persuading Voters Related to all of the above insights, because it was driven by anxiety over money and by the analytics, and because it surely played a factor in Hillary’s disastrous showing among working-class whites, was the decision to focus almost exclusively on turning out base Democratic voters, rather than persuading voters. This was an issue from as early as the New Hampshire primary, when Bill Clinton clashed with Robby Mook and wanted to get the campaign out of the cities and to talk to more rural voters. To Mook, such a strategy was inefficient, yet as Allen and Parnes note: During the primaries, Mook’s obsession with efficiency had come at the cost of broad voter contact in states that would become important battlegrounds in the general election. It led him to send the Clintons to big cities, where black and Latino voters would produce major delegate hauls. Putting Hillary in Detroit, for example, was the most efficient way of building voters for the primary and the general election, but it meant that she wasn’t in mostly white Macomb County, just outside the city…Mook was giving up on persuading voters who weren’t inclined to support Hillary because it was less efficient to go after them. “It’s hard if you try; it’s even harder if you don’t try,” one senior aide said of the decision to forgo appearances in white suburbs. On some level, the decision to forgo persuasion was driven by a short calendar. By the time Hillary finally won the nomination after a tougher than expected fight with Bernie, it was too late to build the ground forces that are key to knocking on doors and persuading voters. It was also presumed that voters already had a wealth of information and well-formed opinions about Hillary, which meant that attempting to persuade them was especially inefficient. Still, the fact that the campaign, in large part, didn’t even try to persuade voters in key battleground states was surely a contributing factor to Hillary’s loss. Insight #5: E-mails, E-mails, E-mails Clearly, a lot of the media narrative throughout the campaign was focused on e-mails, both Hillary’s private e-mail server and, in the last month of the campaign, the cyberattacks on the DNC and especially John Podesta. There is an entire chapter of the book dedicated to “The Summer of the Server” detailing how Hillary failed to grasp the potential for the story to turn into a full-blown scandal, and had taken far too long to issue any kind of public apology for the way she had handled her e-mail at the State Department. Then, in the month before Election Day, the release of the e-mails from John Podesta’s e-mail account became, as the authors describe, a “slow-bleed story line that plagued her longer than the Access Hollywood video hobbled Trump.” In the end, voters conflated all of the “e-mail” storylines into one, to an effect that, according to campaign insiders, was decisive in he
47 minutes | Jun 15, 2017
S1 EP 32: Evaluating Jared Polis and the Democrat Candidates for Colorado Governor
In this episode, we discuss the big announcement of Congressman Jared Polis’s entry into the Democratic race for Colorado Governor. The discussion also covers the impact on the other Democrat candidates in the race, and who is a perceived winner or loser. Jared Polis’s Campaign Priorities – To our surprise Jared Polis has joined the race for Governor! One thing that we find fascinating about the campaign is the Congressman’s top three priorities. These are education, the environment and the economy. You can view his bio video and details about his campaign at www.polisforcolorado.com. Promises for Education – On the issue of public education, which is ALWAYS a top priority among Democrat voters in Colorado, Jared Polis pledges to establish universal full day kindergarten and preschool in every community across the state. This is a goal that has long been sought after by progressive Democrat groups. It is an issue that is also appealing to unaffiliated voters, primarily because it is a clear example of helping people, not advancing a political agenda. In short, its smart politics. Promises for the Environment – Jared Polis is trying to appeal to the all-important environmental faction of the Democrat primary voter by setting a goal of accomplishing a statewide clean energy transition by 2040. He claims that he can meet that goal “while saving people money on their utility bills” and creating green energy jobs in Colorado that can never be outsourced. This language is very interesting and difficult to believe, but if Donald Trump can say anything he wants than Jared Polis can too. Promises for the Economy – When discussing the economy, Jared Polis covers his Democrat bases by affirming his support for raising the minimum wage, family medical leave and ensuring that “employers follow our laws”. In an attempt to appeal to Bernie Sanders voters, he proposes a plan to address income disparity and ensure “workers share in the value they help create”. The plan would mandate that Colorado companies have a profit sharing and “employee ownership” program for all employees. We are anxious to the see the details of that plan.
45 minutes | May 25, 2017
S1 EP 31: An Analysis of the 2018 Senate Battleground Districts in Colorado
In this episode, we look ahead to 2018 at key State Senate districts in Colorado, and provide insight into how we view the fundamental demographics and the true competitiveness of each district. Key State Senate Districts Senate District 3 - Democrat Leroy Garcia won this Pueblo district with just under 55% of the vote in 2014. He defeated Republican George Rivera, who had replaced Angela Giron in the 2013 recall election following her support of new gun control legislation. Interestingly, Senator Garcia voted with Senate Republicans this past session on a bill that would have repealed the one piece of that gun control legislation – the limit on the size of ammunition magazines. Senate District 5 – Democrat Kerry Donovan won this mountain-based district with 49% of the vote in 2014, defeating Republican Don Suppes by 1,300 votes in a race where a Libertarian candidate also received 2,374 votes. Senator Donovan also voted with Senate Republicans on the magazine limit repeal, and she has also championed efforts to gain funding for rural broadband and to establish every third Saturday in May as a permanent state holiday: Public Lands Day. Senate District 11 – Democrat Michael Merrifield won this El Paso County district with 52% of the vote in 2014, defeating Republican Bernie Herpin (the other incumbent senator who was elected during the 2013 recall elections). Merrifield has been described as “Colorado’s own Bernie Sanders” and describes Sanders as an inspiration. Though critical of “Denver-centric” Democrats in calling for a more progressive, populist voice, Merrifield is also the Minority Whip in the Senate and a very reliable Democratic vote. Senate District 16 – Republican Tim Neville won this suburban district with 51% of the vote in 2014, defeating incumbent Democrat Jeanne Nicholson. Those who follow Colorado politics will already be familiar with Neville – he ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate last year and is a reliable conservative vote in the State Senate. Neville was one of the three Republican votes on the Senate Finance Committee who voted to kill House Bill 1242 which would have asked voters to pass a .5 percent sales tax increase to go toward transportation projects. Senate District 20 – Term-limited Democrat Cheri Jahn won this Jefferson County district with 47% of the vote over Republican Larry Queen, with a Libertarian candidate receiving 7% of the vote. Jahn is perhaps the most centrist among Senate Democrats, often siding with her Republican colleagues on business issues. District 20 is clearly one of the better chances for Republicans to pick up a seat in 2018. Senate District 22 – Term-limited Democrat Andy Kerr won this Jefferson County district with 51% of the vote in 2014 over Republican Tony Sanchez. With the margin of victory at just 1,336 votes, this is another district where, with the right candidate, Republicans could potentially seize an opportunity. Senate District 24 – Republican Beth Martinez-Humenik won this Adams County district with 51% of the vote in 2014. As detailed here by Marianne Goodland at The Colorado Independent, Martinez-Humenik has emerged as a centrist voice within the Senate Republican caucus, voting with Democrats to kill an anti-abortion bill, among others. Still, the fact that there will be a Democratic Primary in District 24 next year, which will include State Rep. Faith Winter, shows that Democrats sense an opportunity to gain a seat here.
55 minutes | May 18, 2017
S1 EP 30: Colorado Legislative Session Wrap-Up
In this episode, we discuss the end of the Colorado legislative session, which big issues were tackled, and where there still remains work to be done. We’ll refer back to our January 10thpodcast on which issues were top priorities – that podcast can be found here. Show Segments Fixing Colorado’s Crowded Crumbling Roads – Governor Hickenlooper, in discussing last week the potential for a special sessions, had this to say about transportation: “If we don’t invest in transportation, if we don’t invest and make sure we’re out ahead of this, growth in Colorado will stop.” Clearly the governor does not view the transportation provisions of Senate Bill 267 to be sufficient. So can lawmakers claim any success on transportation? Construction Defects Overhaul – After Republican Rep. Cole Wist and Democratic Rep. Alec Garnett agreed to take the lead and partner on the issue, the legislature was able to pass House Bill 1279, which eases builders’ legal burden for construction defects. Energy vs. the Environment – In a move that would not have been anticipated at the beginning of the session, the legislature failed to pass a reauthorization bill for the Colorado Energy Office on the final day. Both the House and Senate also unsuccessfully attempted to pass new regulations regarding oil pipeline safety in the wake of the home explosion in Firestone last month. Funding Public Education – The school finance bill passed by lawmakers actually increases next year’s per pupil funding by an average of $242. House Bill 1375 was also passed, which requires school districts to develop a plan to equitably share voter-approved tax increases with charter schools Hospital Provider Fee – Lawmakers were able to achieve a major agreement within Senate Bill 267 to reclassify the hospital provider fee program that helps reimburse hospitals for uncompensated care. It is a notable accomplishment, aided by Republican lawmakers from rural areas like Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg who felt compelled to make a deal to avoid hospital cuts that would have hit rural areas the hardest. The agreement on the hospital provider fee gives an example of a feature of this year’s legislative session that has been touted by both major newspapers in the state in the aftermath of the legislative session: a willing to work across party lines and compromise.
55 minutes | May 11, 2017
S1 EP 29: Colorado Voter Opinion Survey Results Part 2
In this episode, we finish discussing the results of our Colorado survey. We cover the topics of repealing and replacing Obamacare and how well the Democrat and Republican parties are connecting with Colorado voters. We also discuss voter opinion of a building a wall along the Mexican border, the Trump administration’s temporary travel ban from seven Muslim countries and withholding federal funding from cities that do not enforce our nation’s immigration laws. Overview Among likely 2018 voters, 63% think that the Republican Party is out of touch and 60% think that the Democratic Party is out of touch. Respondents are split on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), as 48% oppose the legislation and 47% support it. When asked how they want Congress to handle Obamacare, a clear majority of 60% wants to keep what works and fix what doesn’t. That number is far lower among Republicans, as 40% would prefer that that law is repealed and that Congress would start over with new healthcare legislation. When asked about specific policies that been enacted or discussed during President Trump’s first 100 days in office, small majorities oppose the travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries (52% oppose) and the proposal to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities (53% oppose). 62% of respondents oppose building a wall along the U.S. border of Mexico that is estimated to cost billions of dollars. Both Parties Viewed as Out of Touch When asked whether the Republican Party is in touch with the concerns of most people in Colorado, 63% of respondents think that it is out of touch. The Democratic Party does not fare much better, as 60% of respondents think that it is out of touch. These results are roughly in line with what the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll found, which we discussed on our podcast last week. A Split on Obamacare Now over a month removed from the first failed attempt at repeal, respondents were asked whether they support or oppose the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The results show a very divided 2018 electorate split along partisan lines, with 86% of Republicans opposing Obamacare and 86% of Democrats supporting it. Not only is there a partisan split, but voter intensity is also high on both sides, as 72% of Republicans strongly oppose Obamacare, and 60% of Democrats strongly support it. Clearly, whatever actions are taken by the Republican-led Congress regarding Obamacare will be important in determining the political environment for 2018. Survey Questions Discussed in the Podcast Do you think the Republican Party is in touch with the concerns of most people in Colorado, or is it out of touch? Out of Touch 63% In Touch 28% Unsure or Refused 9% Do you think the Democrat Party is in touch with the concerns of most people in Colorado, or is it out of touch? Out of Touch 60% In Touch 32% Unsure or Refused 8% Do you support or oppose the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare? Total Support 47% Total Oppose 48% Strongly Support 29% Somewhat Support 18% Strongly Oppose 40% Somewhat Oppose 8% Unsure or Refused 5% Which of the following options best describes what you want Congress to do regarding the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare? Keep what works, fix what doesn’t 60% Repeal Obamacare and start over 24% Repeal Obamacare, do not replace 10% Keep Obamacare as it is, make no changes 6% Unsure or no opinion 0% Refused 0% Do you support or oppose Donald Trump’s executive order imposing a temporary travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries? Total Support 45% Total Oppose 52% Strongly Support 33% Somewhat Support 12% Strongly Oppose 40% Somewhat Oppose 12% Unsure or Refused 3% Do you support or oppose building a wall along the US border of Mexico that is estimated to cost billions of dollars? Total Support 35% Total Oppose 62% Strongly Support 24% Somewhat Support 11% Strongly Oppose 51% Somewhat Oppose 11% Unsure or Refused 3% Do you support or oppose a proposal that would withhold federal funding to cities that do not actively enforce our nation’s immigration laws? Total Support 42% Total Oppose 53% Strongly Support 35% Somewhat Support 7% Strongly Oppose 40% Somewhat Oppose 13% Unsure or Refused 5%
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