The 2020 election was a mandate to show Donald Trump the door. Nothing more.
The 2020 election was a mandate to show Donald Trump the door. Nothing more.
For nearly 50 years, an iron law has ruled Colorado politics.
Colorado has ranked high among states that use the form of direct democracy to resolve thorny questions, take care of government housekeeping matters and tackle problems the legislature won't.
Ernest Luning: "Across the decades — but especially lately — it appears that Colorado voters are less inclined to pick their U.S. House members from the traditional fields that yield federal lawmakers."
Eric Sondermann: "Our national mountain of litter did not accumulate in a day. Nor will it disappear anytime soon. But it is time we turned a corner by spotlighting the behavior and again changing public norms."
Ernest Luning: "During that brief period before harsh reality brought the flights of electoral fantasy down to earth, the pairing loomed as the kind of starkly defined contest that comes along only once."
A recent ruling in Denver District Court could put some practitioners in Colorado's politicized ethics complaint industry on notice that coming up with allegations and throwing them at the wall to see what sticks might not cut it anymore.
Ernest Luning: "When it comes to attacks based on ethics complaints, the more spectacular the details, the better."
Mary Estill Buchanan, the Boulder Republican who served two terms as secretary of state and came within fewer than 20,000 votes of the U.S. Senate, owns more than a couple of the state’s political firsts.
Ernest Luning: "On the theory that it can help make sense of where you’re going if you have a clear picture of where you’ve been, here are some of the hallmarks of Colorado elections in the modern era — a grab bag of some of the mosts, firsts, and other superlatives, the purely political milestones that have defined the state’s contests for major statewide and congressional offices over the past 50 or so years."
Eric Sondermann: "At the end of Marjorie Taylor Greene week in Colorado, and in my old hometown of Colorado Springs, it is time to take stock of what has befallen the Colorado Republican Party and the depths to which it has sunk."
Marianne Goodland: "Daneya Esgar is the among seven Capitol regulars to welcome a new baby this year, along with Gov. Jared Polis' spokesman Conor Cahill, Speaker of the House Alec Garnett, D-Denver, and lobbyist Lisa LaBriola of Axiom Strategies."
Ernest Luning: "Just as Salazar’s heritage and background mirrors the ever-evolving relationship of the American Southwest and its centuries-old neighbor to the south, Salazar’s political rise from the ranch his family has tended for generations in Los Rincones — one of the first spots in Colorado to be settled by Europeans — set the pace for the Colorado Democratic Party’s climb from obscurity to near-total control of the state."
Eric Sondermann: "Whatever one’s political orientation, the 2021 session was notable. Despite early promises that it would be narrowly focused on pandemic recovery and relief, it was anything but. Few high-stakes, high-controversy issues went untouched. Participants and observers alike walked away knowing it had been a session of consequence, but also one of ill will and troubling precedent."
Ernest Luning: "A week ago, marking one year since the day civil rights icon John Lewis died at age 80, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, a friend and longtime colleague of the Georgia congressman, shared a memory on social media."
Eric Sondermann: "Through heat, wildfire and blessed rain, and with only the briefest of breaks for baseball’s all-star extravaganza, the political world churns on. With that in mind, this week’s column is devoted to a number of quick takes; a smorgasbord of random observations, if you will."
Ernest Luning: "Depending where the final lines fall, both the Democratic and Republican primaries could be crowded with hopefuls eyeing that rarest of Colorado political prizes: an open congressional seat."
Columnist Eric Sondermann dives into what he describes as the bottomless mess that is the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association.
The Democrats’ eagerness to take on Lauren Boebert in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District next year has already set new records and prompted the state party to launch an unprecedented voter-contact strategy more than a year before voters will pick the party’s nominee.
Eric Sondermann: "Incremental understanding will go far. What better time to start than on the celebration of America’s Declaration of Independence? New Year’s Day can have its resolutions often centered on personal improvement. For the Fourth, a personal intention can lead to civic healing."
Joey Bunch: "I’ve never thought of civil rights as a road show, but in a state famous for a touring headless chicken and a celebrated traveling cannibal, anything goes."
Eric Sondermann: "Of the many hot-button issues of the moment, none produces for me the same kind of dissonance as this question of denying certain individuals and viewpoints access to social media platforms. My internal dialogue on the subject is rich and active as I am unable to get fully comfortable with either position."
Eric Sondermann: "Republicans want the bloodiest of red meat and display little appetite for anything less. Democrats, too, prefer their meat rare (when not ordering a meat-substitute) and show little interest in halfway measures."
Eric Sondermann: "With all that is regained, it is important to remember some of the very different features of this past year through which we lived. Many of the adaptations were not of our choosing. But now, coming out the other side, some are worth retaining in whole or in part."
Eric Sondermann: "In Colorado and the vast majority of other states, the top election officials with the solemn responsibility of fairly and impartially administering our democracy’s central feature are themselves partisan actors elected through a partisan process."
Ernest Luning catches up with Weston Imer, known as "the kid of the Trump campaign" in Colorado, who hopes some of that Trump magic can rub off on the long-shot bid of his mom, Laurel Imer, to unseat eight-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter.
Lynn Bartels: "This year, we are grateful that some schools are holding in-person graduations, although all sorts of precautions have been taken. The deaths from COVID-19 were just ramping up when most in-person graduations were canceled last year."
Eric Sondermann: "Refugees are clearly immigrants; but not all immigrants are refugees."
The pride of the Senate Republicans, their entry for this year's rubber band ball drop, has been missing for a week now.
Ernest Luning: "Like an old prizefighter suiting up for an exhibition match to summon his glory days, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn this week laced up his gloves and dusted off perennial legislation to end federal funding for public broadcasting."
Lynn Bartels: "Thanks to my birthday celebration in mid-May, where I dined at three restaurants in two days, I discovered something extraordinary: Life in Colorado appears to be returning to normal."
Eric Sondermann: "Now, a mature, experienced, occasionally poised me enjoys public speaking and rarely sweats it. But way back then, as an extra-young novice, not so much. I was essentially a field organizer and barely familiar with the candidate’s position papers. You can imagine that a few hours of panicked cramming ensued. This is where George Will enters the frame."
Ernest Luning: "The Colorado Springs Republican, serving his eighth term in Congress, has had more close calls than a long-tailed cat on a porch full of rocking chairs."
Eric Sondermann: "Here we are a full half-year past the election (and after all major news organizations, including Fox News and other conservative outlets, declared a Biden victory), and Trump’s party, led by the impresario himself, are firmly, defiantly, unmovably stuck between the grieving stages of denial and anger."
Lynn Bartels: "Oh, how we wept for the Class of 2020, whose proms and track meets and high school graduations were canceled or delayed because of the coronavirus. But it turns out we should have saved our tears for the Class of 2021."
Columnist Eric Sondermann took a look at the respective benches in both the Republican and Democratic parties and consulted leading consultants and operatives to determine a number of up-and-comers in each party.
The Denver Gazette and 9News are teaming up to try to answer questions as we get closer and closer to a return to normalcy. We’ve assembled a panel of some of the best health experts in the state to provide you with the best information available.
Eric Sondermann: "The indiscriminate, untargeted, one-size-fits-all nature of these (stimulus) payments speaks to a government with more wallet than refined strategy. Even if that wallet is illusory, consisting of trillions after trillions of indebtedness and money borrowed from next generations."
Ernest Luning: "Neguse, of Lafayette, landed in the top 10% of House members on the scale, which measures how often lawmakers' legislation attracts co-sponsors from across the aisle and how often they sign on to bills sponsored by members of the other party."
Joey Bunch: "With Gov. Jared Polis' signature, the legislation would change the age to 80, and all drivers younger than that have to attest they've had an eye exam in the past year. Those older than 80 would still have a doctor's note showing an exam the previous six months."
The news came down like a thunderbolt: an ex-cop police from Minneapolis would see the inside of a prison for killing George Floyd. Colorado leaders, especially those who live behind the bars of prejudice, exhaled.
It was the crinkle heard 'round the world — or across the Twitterverse, at least.
Lynn Bartels: "(Peter) Groff, now a consultant, said he watched about 90% of Chauvin’s trial and thought the evidence against the fired officer was overwhelming and the prosecution did a spectacular job. And yet …"
Eric Sondermann: "When all the hollering is over and the legislative session finally adjourns, much of the post-mortem analysis will center on the major bills passed. ... However, at the moment, it seems that such affirmative steps would be gravy. And that the most important service our elected representatives could render would be to summarily kill a number of ill-considered, unnecessary proposals that have arisen from various quarters."
The lighter side of the Capitol, usually.
Lynn Bartels: "Talk about full circle. I’m going to get my second vaccination today, April 20, at the same South Dakota hospital where I was born almost 64 years ago."
Ernest Luning: "Ten years ago this month, Colorado's political world might not have been any kinder, but the pace and daily pressure seem gentler, if only through the gauze of the years."
Colorado legislators have had much to face this session, and statehouse reporter Marianne Goodland has been there every step of the way, showing the lighter side of the state Capitol ... usually. Find a selection of her columns from this session.
Two of America’s most-loved authors, Beverly Cleary and Larry McMurtry, died on the same day, leaving holes in the hearts of Americans who loved irascible Ramona Quimby and retired Texas Rangers Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call.
Eric Sondermann: "Twenty-one years ago as we turned the page on a new century, our national indebtedness stood at roughly $5.6 trillion. Today, it exceeds $28 trillion and is headed north at a speedy, unrestrained clip."