Hello, hello, hello, Colorado! And welcome back to The Spot, The Denver Post’s weekly newsletter about the people, policies and politics that define our state.
I’m Nic Garcia, a politics reporter at The Denver Post and I’ll be your host here, every Thursday.
The Spot has a long history in Colorado politics. For years, it was docThe Post’s must-read politics blog, with dispatches from the hallways of the state Capitol to the winding roads of the campaign trail.
In February, The Spot debuted as a weekly newsletter, and as we relaunch for the 2018 election season kickoff, we have a fresh look and a new promise to our subscribers: Each edition of The Spot will feature original reporting that you will be the first to see.
With all eyes focused on Grand Junction this weekend for the annual Club 20 fall conference, we decided to ask Western and rural voters across the state what mattered to them this election season. Spoiler alert: They didn’t hold back.
Also, I have a couple of favors to ask. Please, send feedback, suggestions and news tips to [email protected]. Forward this along to three of your friends or colleagues who are crazy about politics and encourage them to subscribe. And of course, become a digital subscriber to The Denver Post.
See you next Thursday! — Nic
About 25 percent of Colorado’s registered voters live in rural communities, far from both gubernatorial candidates’ Denver metro area home bases.
While many of the issues rural voters face — access to affordable health care, crumbing roads and economic growing pains — ring true along the Front Range, each community has its own unique struggles. There’s a dearth of access to high-speed internet in the state’s mountain communities. In Grand Junction, there’s a tension between the energy sector and the environment. And Lamar just wants a piece of the state’s economic boom.
Click here to see what rural voters want from candidates Jared Polis and Walker Stapleton in the 2018 election.
- Voters will shape the future of Colorado and the nation with these seven races and ballot issues this fall.
- Is Jared Polis a “Boulder liberal?” Republicans make the case, but his record is more complicated.
- The oil and gas boom could soon make its first mark on northeast Denver — or, rather, beneath it.
- Colorado Democrats made it clear Wednesday they’d prefer Republican gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton eat lunch at his desk. Via ColoradoPolitics
- The six Colorado lawmakers charged with drafting a new sexual harassment policy for a statehouse stung by scandal and accusation last session are contemplating a good dose of public shaming to prompt colleagues into attending harassment prevention training sessions. Via The Colorado Independent
Breaking: Polis campaign incensed over new attack ad
Congressman Jared Polis’ gubernatorial campaign is outraged at a new attack ad from the Republican Governors Association that claims the Democrat never paid taxes and used a Cayman Island bank account to hide income. Polis’ team issued a two-page brief to The Denver Post this morning refuting all the claims in the ad. The ad is “shameful,” said Mara Sheldon, the campaign’s spokeswoman. The ad is the latest from the RGA, which has pledged millions of dollars to defeat Polis.
Polis and his allies have began to attack Republican opponent Walker Stapleton, too. Earlier this week, the Polis team launched the website WhereIsWalker.co, which criticizes Stapleton’s attendance at PERA board meetings. The Stapleton campaign has said the Democrats’ claim is based on bad math and incomplete data.
Following the money
Tuesday was the most recent deadline for most campaigns to update curious citizen with how much money they’ve raised and spent. Here’s what new campaign finance reports show about how the gubernatorial candidates fared in raising money between July 28 and Aug. 29.
- Total donations this period: $5.53 million
- Total donations overall (monetary and non-monetary): $18.68 million
- Cash on hand: $2.01 million
- Total donations this period: $345,901.99
- Total contributions overall (monetary and non-monetary): $2.9 million.
- Cash on hand: $555,379.13
— Ben Botkin
On the road(s) with Jon Caldara
Last weekend, we dove into the key differences between two statewide transportation-funding initiatives that you’ll see on your ballot this fall — one proposing a sales tax increase, the other requiring the state to borrow money for projects without new income to repay it.
One tidbit that didn’t make the story: Jon Caldara, head of the libertarian-conservative Independence Institute that’s behind “Fix Our Damn Roads,” the non-taxing measure, is angry at state legislators over a pre-emptive move that limits his measure’s potential impact.
Caldara’s initiative would require the state to issue $3.5 billion in bonds and figure out how to repay them out of the current budget. Legislators, however, tucked a provision into a transportation bill that would cancel existing state plans to borrow $1.5 billion for transportation projects if a non-taxing measure like Caldara’s were to pass. That reduces the net effect of his borrowing measure to $2 billion.
“I think a lot of why the Denver Chamber did a lot of the hijinks they did (in influencing legislators) is so they could say, ‘Look, you don’t have enough of the money for the projects you want,’” Caldara said, referring to a group backing the tax measure.
But Caldara is optimistic that if his measure wins over voters, lawmakers will reverse that decision. “What the legislature takes away, the legislature can giveth,” he quipped.
Of course, it’s an open question whether his allies on this point — who are Republicans — will be in a position to give that change to Caldara after the November election, where the GOP is fighting to hold onto even its one-seat majority in the Senate.
— Jon Murray
There’s a new little goose in Colorado. Joe Neguse, who is running to be the next representative from Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, became a dad over Labor Day weekend. Here’s one of the first photos of father and daughter.
— Anna Staver
Getting to know you
Each week we feature a different member of the state’s political community who you should know. Up first, however, we’re introducing ourselves to you. This week, meet reporter Anna Staver.
Who are you and what do you report on for The Denver Post?
How did you end up on the politics team?
What current storylines — local and/or national — are most interesting to you?the state legislature is going to do about Gallagher.
When it comes to this election cycle, I’m currently curious about people who split their ballots. Specifically, I’m looking at voters in the 6th Congressional District who voted for both Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in 2016. If you’re one of those people, I’d love to hear from you.
What’s your biggest pet peeve covering politics?
What’s your favorite part of Colorado?
Nominate yourself or someone you know to be featured in The Spot. Send an email to [email protected].
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