Last week, a relative who isn’t active in politics texted me a picture of a mailer which appeared to be a “Colorado Voter Guide.” The piece contrasted Greg Lopez, Republican candidate for governor, and Gov. Jared Polis on abortion.
A supporter of Heidi Ganahl’s run for governor, this individual wrote in confusion and frustration, “Why is the Colorado pro-life voter guide assuming that Heidi isn’t gonna get the nom,” with an angry emoji.
I could understand the confusion. On one side of the mailer was a picture of a smiling baby with large text stating “Colorado Pro-Life” with “Voter Guide” below it. “This voter guide is intended to help you find out where Colorado candidates stand on protecting the sanctity of life, so you can vote your values,” it claims. The impression was clear: this is a pro-life voter guide.
The other side compares Lopez and Polis, with no reference to Ganahl. It states that it’s “Paid for by Colorado Voter Guides.” Nowhere on that flyer is it noted that the left-wing, radically pro-abortion group ProgressNow is behind the trade name Colorado Voter Guides — nor that they registered their doing-business-as trade name only on June 7.
Other mailers contrast Republican U.S. Senate candidates Joe O’Dea and Ron Hanks on “Gun Rights” and “Taxes and Spending,” respectively, in a way that pits Hanks as the more conservative candidate on both issues. They falsely assert he is “Endorsed by the Colorado Republican Party.”
These pieces don’t even say who paid for them. The only thing one might notice is the tiny “Union Label” notice that both the ProgressNow mailers and the unsourced pieces share, begging the question — is this ProgressNow (at the very least, it proves a left-wing, union-labor source)?
To average voters like my relative, it looks like Lopez passed some official “Colorado Voter Guide” test and that Ron Hanks is officially endorsed by the GOP — a claim the state party resoundingly rejects.
It is shocking — albeit unsurprising — how flagrantly dishonest and transparently deceptive Colorado’s Left is being.
Though it’s worth considering the motivations behind why Democrats would meddle in GOP primaries on behalf of the particular candidates they’ve chosen, Republican voters can, should and will draw their own conclusions. What they don’t need is left-wing groups maliciously trying to influence Republican primaries.
Let’s be clear: for years, Democrats have cried foul about so-called “dark money” in politics — meaning, funds raised for election activities by a nonprofit organization that aren’t required to disclose the identities of their donors. Now, they’re spitting out millions of dollars in ads and mailers in the Republican primary funded by dark money like nobody’s business.
They even believe it’s nobody’s business who’s even funding some of the ads they’re running. This is as dirty as politics can get — and heretofore, going on without condemnation from a single Democrat.
In addition to the mailers, TV ads have been running on Fox News and other outlets on behalf of Hanks and Lopez. Though the recently formed committee Democratic Colorado discloses that it’s behind the spots, they effectively attempt to make chosen candidates — particularly Hanks and Lopez — appear “too conservative for Colorado.” This is clearly intended to be what former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) once called “reverse psychology.”
In a Politico excerpt from her 2015 book, "Plenty Ladylike: A Memoir," McCaskill recounted how her 2012 reelection campaign had successfully helped secure the nomination of her chosen Republican opponent, Todd Akin. Believing (correctly) that Akin would be the most vulnerable GOP candidate, she wanted to go up against him.
“Using the guidance of my campaign staff and consultants, we came up with the idea for a ‘dog whistle’ ad, a message that was pitched in such a way that it would be heard only by a certain group of people,” she explained. “I told my team we needed to put Akin’s uber-conservative bona fides in an ad — and then, using reverse psychology, tell voters not to vote for him. And we needed to run the hell out of that ad.”
So, they developed a $1.7 million plan, which was then augmented by an additional $250,000 spent by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the final days of the primary. Their ads called Akin “too conservative.” She admitted, “as it turned out, we spent more money for Todd Akin in the last two weeks of the primary than he spent on his whole primary campaign.”
“If we were going to spend that kind of money on ads for Akin, I wanted to get him nominated and start disqualifying him with independent voters at the same time,” McCaskill added. “This presentation made it look as though I was trying to disqualify him though, as we know, when you call someone ‘too conservative’ in a Republican primary, that’s giving him or her a badge of honor.”
As with McCaskill in Missouri 10 years ago, Colorado Democrats have deemed certain candidates more vulnerable than others — Hanks, Lopez and Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters. They’ve already spent several million dollars using McCaskill’s playbook.
It’s clear that Democrats fear they may lose their hegemony in Colorado. Consequently, they will stop at nothing — and spare no expense — to make sure Republicans nominate candidates Democrats will blast as “crazy” and “easy to beat.”
Perhaps Colorado Dems have concluded they cannot win a general election campaign grounded in reality, all while they reject reality themselves.
Jimmy Sengenberger is host of “The Jimmy Sengenberger Show” Saturdays from 6-9am on News/Talk 710 KNUS. He also hosts “Jimmy at the Crossroads,” a webshow and podcast in partnership with The Washington Examiner.