Colorado

'Why Would People Hate A Chaplain?' Gordon Klingenschmitt Cannot Understand The Controversy Surrounding His Election

Appearing on the "Bible News Radio" program on Monday, newly elected Republican legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt voiced his confusion as to why his election to a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives has generated so much controversy and criticism, wondering "why would people hate a chaplain?"

Klingenschmitt, who has a long and well-documented history of saying an endless stream of truly insane things, seemed utterly mystified as to why his becoming an elected representative would be of concern to anyone.

"I'm just a guy who believes the Bible," he said. "I love Jesus. I love people. I'm a man of faith and compassion."

Klingenschmitt asserted that while he has defended the religious freedom of atheists, Jews, and Muslims, he is unfairly being singled out for harassment because he is a Christian.

"There is a backlash against the name of Jesus," Klingenschmitt said. "People do not want God to rule their hearts and a lot of people are offended when a chaplain or a man of faith gets elected to political office. But thank God, the voters in my district were very conservative and very open to religious freedom":

Personhood Leader: 'The Statewide Personhood Ballot Measure Is Dead For Now'

Gualberto Garcia Jones, the prominent anti-choice activist who drafted all three losing “fetal personhood” ballot measures in Colorado, is calling on his movement to abandon state-level ballot initiatives in favor of local initiatives that might have a better chance at passing.

Jones’ post-election analysis is likely to exacerbate an already bitter split within the personhood movement. Jones, who previously worked for the Colorado-based Personhood USA — which is dedicated to pushing state-level initiatives — recently defected to the newly created Personhood Alliance, a network of “personhood” groups that announced before the election that it would be pursuing a local-level strategy. Although Personhood USA at first supported Personhood Alliance, it soon distanced itself, accusing the new group of infringing on its territory.

In an article on Friday for LifeSiteNews, Jones followed up on his prediction that last week’s elections would “either collapse or ignite” the personhood movement. Huge losses on personhood amendments in Colorado and North Dakota, he wrote, mean that statewide ballot initiatives “dead for now.” Rather than fighting for personhood at the state level, Jones wrote, the movement should start “engaging the enemy in municipalities and counties that we know we control.”

The rest of conservative America may be celebrating, but for the Personhood movement, it is time for some sober analysis.

Tuesday’s election results were certainly not good for pro-abortion Democrats, but they were even worse for the Personhood movement. I have to admit that my own predictions were off and I am sorely disappointed.

After the defeat of Measure 1 in North Dakota by an unexpectedly wide vote of 64-36 and of the Brady Amendment in Colorado by an almost identical margin of 65-35, it isn’t an overstatement to say that the statewide personhood ballot measure is dead for now.

Had the Brady Amendment performed just a little better and the North Dakota amendment passed or been close to passing, then the claim could be made that the movement was growing and that there was a realistic chance of passing a personhood amendment in another state in the near future. As it is, the crushing defeat of the North Dakota amendment and the lackluster improvement in Colorado should make Personhood supporters stop to think about the strategy going forward.

Thoughtful reconsideration of the strategy of the Personhood movement is what the movement needs right now.

It should be noted that the same goes for the entire pro-life movement. The narrow victory of the Tennessee amendment that safeguards the right to legislatively address abortion, is a victory, but the bar is set painfully low.

These initial years of the personhood movement have taught us a lot. I believe that we now know how to fight to win against Planned Parenthood. And the key is being able to control the battleground.

When you look at electoral maps of the country, it is readily evident that majorities in almost every metropolitan area of the country are opposed to our worldview. These metropolitan areas are also the major media centers and accumulate large percentages of the voting population in every state.

Right now, fighting the abortion industry at the state level is akin to having lined up a battalion of colonists against the well-trained and well armed redcoats. We need to start engaging in more asymmetrical tactics, and this means engaging the enemy in municipalities and counties that we know we control.

This can be done at the legislative and political level, as Georgia Right to Life and other groups have done by the endorsement of state officials, or it can be done by engaging in municipal ballot measures.

Local laws deal with many powers that touch upon the personhood of the preborn, from local health and building codes to local law enforcement such as child abuse prevention. It is time to establish the recognition of universal human personhood into these laws.

Personhood Group Thanks Joni Ernst For Sticking With Them On Toxic Issue

Personhood USA is not used to electoral victories.

On Tuesday, the Colorado-based group failed for the third time to pass a ballot measure granting legal rights to zygotes in its home state. It consoled itself that at least the measure — whose scope had been somewhat narrowed in an effort to attract voters — lost less badly than it had in the past.

Adding insult to injury, Colorado’s successful Republican Senate candidate, Cory Gardner, had renounced his support for the amendment and started lying about the fact that he was still supporting a similar measure in the U.S. House, causing Personhood USA’s head, Keith Mason, to joke about dressing up as someone stabbed in the back by Gardner for Halloween.

But the group did find one thing to be very happy about this week. In a press release that serves as a barely veiled dig at Gardner, Personhood USA congratulates successful Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst “for defending personhood during [a] principled Senate victory.” After falsely claiming in a debate that a state-level personhood bill she supported wouldn’t actually do anything but instead was just a symbolic “statement,” Ernst later confirmed that she would in fact support a federal-level personhood bill.

Personhood USA cites Ernst’s support for their cause to encourage Republican presidential candidates vying to win the Iowa caucuses to embrace similarly radical anti-choice stands:

"Joni Ernst didn't just say she was pro-life, she actually had the courage to act pro-life," said Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. "After all, supporting personhood rights for the unborn is what it means to be pro-life. By doubling down on her support for personhood and energizing her pro-life base, she was able to win her race by a wide margin."

Ernst's victory sends a clear message to potential Republican presidential candidates who want to win the Iowa caucuses. In June, a personhood resolution on the South Carolina GOP ballot won by a landslide with 79% support from voters.

"Republican presidential candidates campaigning in Iowa and South Carolina should pay attention to the grassroots majority who want a candidate that acts pro-life," Mason continued. "Ernst's margin of victory is further confirmation that courageous integrity and fidelity to core pro-life values are a winning combination. While some other candidates narrowly eked by after turning their backs on their pro-life constituencies, Ernst's unapologetic strategy reaped major dividends."

Ernst will hardly be alone as a personhood champion in Congress. A personhood bill sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul currently has 21 cosponsors in the Senate and a House bill has 132 cosponsors…including Gardner.

How 2014's Elections Will Influence 2016's Voting Rights

Voters across the country trying to cast votes in Tuesday’s elections ran into hurdles erected by Republican legislatures, governors and secretaries of state. Along with mechanical glitches and human error — which occurred in states with leaders on both sides of the political spectrum — voters faced new laws and policies that made it harder to vote.

In Alabama, a last-minute decision by the attorney general barred people from using public housing IDs to vote. Voter ID laws in North Carolina and Texas sowed confusion. Georgia lost 40,000 voter registrations, mostly from minorities. In all, the group Election Protection reported receiving 18,000 calls on Election Day, many of them having to do with voter ID laws. The group noted that the flurry of calls represented “a nearly 40 percent increase from 13,000 calls received in 2010.”

In the presidential election year of 2016, it looks unlikely that those problems will subside — especially if Congress fails to restore the Voting Rights Act. The two states that had the closest vote tallies in the last presidential election — Florida and Ohio — will go into the presidential election year with Republicans controlling the offices of governor and secretary of state and holding majorities in their state legislatures.

In Florida, Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who won reelection yesterday, will be able to appoint a secretary of state and will enjoy the support of a veto-proof Republican majority in the state House.

In Ohio, controversial Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted won reelection on Tuesday, along with Gov. John Kasich. They’ll be able to work with a strengthened GOP majority in the state legislature.

In North Carolina, where a Republican legislature and governor have cracked down on voting rights, the GOP held onto its majority. Republican secretary of state candidates in the swing states of Colorado, Iowa and Nevada also won elections yesterday.

Two influential elections for voting rights also took place in states unlikely to be presidential swing states. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a national ringleader for advocates of restrictive voting laws, won reelection. In Arizona, which has been working with Kansas to defend their states' respective tough voting requirements, Republican candidate Michele Reagan also won her contest.

One exception to the trend is Pennsylvania, where Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who backed a harsh voter ID law that has since been struck down in the courts, lost to voting rights supporter Tom Wolf. Although Wolf will contend with a Republican majority in the state legislature, he will be able to appoint a secretary of the commonwealth.

Meet 'Dr. Chaps' Gordon Klingenschmitt: Colorado's New Anti-Gay, Demon Hunting State Legislator

Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt, a radical anti-gay Religious Right activist who brags of having once tried to rid of woman of the "foul spirit of lesbianism" through an exorcism and who openly proclaims that "American law needs to reflect God's law" and that our foreign policy must be based on the Bible, won election to the Colorado House of Representatives last night.

Klingenschmitt, who wrote a book about how President Obama is possessed by demons and once performed an exorcism of Obama, ran an utterly embarrassing campaign yet nonetheless managed to defeat his Democratic opponent by nearly 40 points.

Since Klingenschmitt is now officially an elected Republican legislator, it seems like a good opportunity to take a look back at the radical views he will now be bringing into the Colorado legislature.

Klingenschmitt is a viciously anti-gay theocrat who believes that gay people "want your soul" and may sexually abuse their own children, which is why he says they should face government discrimination since only people who are going to heaven are entitled to equal treatment by the government:

He has declared that judges who strike down gay marriage bans are "imposing the Devil's law upon people" and are deceiving people into Hell, warning that these rulings will eventually be overturned by Jesus, who will send all gay people to Hell:

Klingenschmitt has declared that the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy should never have been repealed since gay soldiers cannot serve effectively in combat because they are constantly "taking breaks on the combat field to change diapers all because their treacherous sin causes them to lose control of their bowels." He also proclaims that those who are not welcome in the church should not be entitled to use public restrooms.

Gays, he says, have something inhuman and demonic inside of them, which is why he declares that teaching kids about gay marriage is mental rape and advocates for Christians to print anti-gay Bible verses on the backs of gay wedding photos:

Klingenschmitt is a man who thinks that "Obamacare causes cancer," that the Bible commands people to own guns in order to "defend themselves against left wing crazies," that ISIS is a sign of the End Times, and that the FCC is allowing demonic spirits to "molest and visually rape your children" ... and now, thanks to the votes he received from more than 17,000 citizens, he is also an elected Republican legislator in the state of Colorado:

Why Tennessee's Anti-Choice Measure Won, While Colorado's And North Dakota's Went Down In Flames

Yesterday, voters in Tennessee approved a ballot measure amending the state constitution to remove all legal protections for abortion rights, paving the way for state lawmakers to pass broad abortion restrictions. At the same time, voters in Colorado and North Dakota overwhelmingly rejected “personhood” measures that would have given the full rights of citizenship to zygotes, thereby criminalizing all abortion along with some forms of birth control. In Colorado, where the nation’s foremost personhood advocacy group is based, it was the third time such a measure had been rejected by voters.

Yesterday’s results are the product of a split among the anti-choice movement about how to achieve the goal of criminalizing all abortions. While most of the movement shares this end-game, its leaders are bitterly divided over the best strategy to achieve it.

The nation’s largest and best-funded anti-choice groups, including National Right to Life, Americans United for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List, favor an incremental approach to chipping away at the protections guaranteed in Roe v. Wade. The incremental strategy has had tremendous success in recent years as measures on the state level have forced scores of abortion clinics to shut their doors. Women in Cincinnati, for instance, still have a legal right to an abortion. But thanks to a recent law aimed at shutting down abortion providers, they may soon lose access to the city’s only clinic that provides the service.

And even in North Dakota, although zygotes won’t be given the legal rights of people (at least for the time being), anti-choice activists are targeting the state’s sole abortion provider, which was struggling to keep its doors open and was recently banned from administering medical abortions.

The personhood movement is angry at mainstream anti-choice leaders for being willing to accept “compromise” legislation that includes exceptions for survivors of rape and incest. But it also thinks that the incremental strategy won’t work. Instead, personhood advocates seek to take advantage of a loophole in Roe v. Wade by which, they believe, if a zygote or a fetus is defined by law as a legal person, Roe’s abortion protections will fall. Groups pushing the so-far unsuccessful personhood ballot measures have allies in this strategy in some far-right judges, most notably on the Alabama Supreme Court, who are trying to build a legal framework for undermining Roe.

On the electoral level, the personhood strategy’s biggest flaw may be it is just too honest about the goals of the anti-choice movement. While Americans are fairly evenly split between those who call themselves pro-choice and those who choose the label pro-life, 70 percent want to keep Roe v. Wade and only 24 percent want to overturn it. Americans have muddled views about circumstances under which they think abortion should be legal, but know that they don’t want it to be completely criminalized.

Groups like Americans United for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List know this and have stayed far away from personhood measures. When a Mother Jones reporter asked AUL for a comment on North Dakota’s measure, a spokeswoman replied, “AUL does not handle personhood issues.”

But other national groups have supported these measures. While National Right to Life’s affiliate in Colorado opposed that state’s measure , saying it would be “immediately overturned in court,” the national group’s North Dakota affiliate backed its state’s even more extreme measure. And while Colorado Republican senator-elect Cory Gardner ran away from the personhood issue, both of North Dakota’s senators supported the ballot measure in their state. The Family Research Council’s North Dakota affiliate also got behind the measure in its state, along with the state chapter of Concerned Women for America and the North Dakota Catholic Conference.

And despite the unpopularity of their bills at the ballot box, personhood advocates still have a strong hold in Congress, where “life at conception” bills have 22 sponsors in the Senate and 133 in the House.

But in the end, even as anti-choice Republicans won handily in Colorado and North Dakota, the personhood measures went down in flames, leading the proponents of the Colorado proposal to rejoice that they at least lost less badly than they had in the past.

The victory of the measure in Tennessee — which will allow legislators to broadly cut off access to abortion rights without explicitly criminalizing abortion — shows that, for now, the incrementalists’ strategy is winning. Even voters in dark-red states like North Dakota can’t stomach a bill that outright criminalizes all abortions. But the anti-choice movement’s strategy to approach the same goal through different means is, so far, working.

Personhood Leader's Halloween Costume: Stabbed In The Back By Cory Gardner

When he launched his bid for U.S. Senate, Colorado Republican Rep. Cory Gardner dropped his previous support for his state’s radical anti-choice “personhood” amendment like a hot potato and has since been attempting to deny that he is sponsoring a similar bill at the federal level, saying that the bill does not exist.

This flip-flopping and evasion has brought Garner criticism from abortion rights advocates, but has also alienated his former allies in the “personhood” movement.

Jennifer Mason, the communications director for the Colorado-based Personhood USA, chalked up Gardner’s inconsistent stand on personhood to “bad political advice”: “Obviously [Gardner's] a victim of some bad political advice, there’s no reason for him to pull local support while he’s still 100 percent behind the federal amendment. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Then, Colorado reporter Jason Salzman wrote yesterday about a Halloween Twitter exchange he had with Keith Mason, the head of Personhood USA and Jennifer's husband, in which Mason declared that his “costume this year is a knife in my back” inscribed with Gardner’s initials:

 

Sadly, there are no pictures.

Voting For The Future Of Voting: Secretary of State Races To Watch

One influential issue at the ballot box this year is the future of how we cast our ballots. In secretary of state races throughout the country, voters will be choosing who runs their elections — and how open those elections are to all voters.

As Republican lawmakers continue to enact news laws aimed at curtailing the rights of voters, secretary of state elections have taken on renewed importance.

We’ve picked three key secretary of state races that we’ll be watching closely Tuesday and added a few more influential races that are also worth keeping an eye on. (And this isn’t even counting states like Florida and Pennsylvania, where the secretary of state is picked by the governor, leaving the gubernatorial elections will have even stronger voting rights implications.)

Kansas

Perhaps the hardest-fought and most-watched secretary of state race this year is taking place in the heavily Republican Kansas. And that’s all because of the national profile and extreme agenda of one man: incumbent Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

When Kobach won his job in 2010, he was already a national figure. After a stint in the Bush Justice Department, Kobach joined the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) — the legal arm of the nativist anti-immigrant group FAIR — where he worked with lawmakers to craft harsh anti-immigrant measures throughout the country, including Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and Arizona, where he helped write the infamous “show me your papers” law SB 1070. After a failed run for Congress in 2004, Kobach set his sights on his state’s elections office.

Kobach has recently gained a prominent place in national Republican politics, serving as an immigration policy adviser to Mitt Romney and working to insert anti-gay and anti-immigrant language into the 2012 GOP platform.

Kobach won his position handily in 2010, but is facing an unexpectedly tough fight to hold onto it. Part of the reason is because he’s kept up his out-of-state anti-immigrant work: He still holds a position at IRLI and jets around the country advising states and localities that have agreed to be his policy guinea pigs, prompting his critics to complain that he’s not spending enough time in Kansas. And part of it is because he’s brought his activism home, using his platform in Kansas to push some of the most extreme voting restrictions in the country by hyping fears that undocumented immigrants are voting en masse in Kansas.

In 2011, at Kobach’s urging, Kansas passed a restrictive voter ID law that included a requirement that those registering to vote provide a passport, birth certificate, or similar “proof of citizenship" to elections authorities. The proof-of-citizenship provision, which took effect this year, has thrown Kansas voter registration into chaos. Less than one week before the election, 22,394 potential Kansas voters are unable to cast ballots because they had not provided an acceptable form of citizenship documentation. In addition, Kobach has placed an estimated 300-400 voters in a special voting rights “tier” in which they can vote only in federal elections and not in state elections. Kobach has proudly reported that of the 200 people who were placed in this special class of disenfranchised voters in this summer's primary election, only one bothered to show up to cast a half vote.

Kobach is also at the helm of Interstate Crosscheck, a faulty program that claims to identify people who are voting in two states at once but in reality has encouraged states to purge eligible minority voters from their voter rolls.

Kansans became even more leery of Kobach’s priorities this year when he spent $34,000 in taxpayer money trying to keep a Democratic senate candidate, Chad Taylor, on the ballot after he dropped out to make way for the independent challenging Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. Kobach only relented when the state supreme court ordered him to, and even then he tried (unsuccessfully) to find a way around the order.

A recent poll shows Kobach tied with his Democratic challenger, Jean Schodorf.

Ohio

In the presidential swing state of Ohio, the secretary of state is often in the center of national battles over voting rights. Republican Jon Husted has been no exception.

In the lead-up to the 2012 election, Husted stepped in to break tie votes in Democratic-leaning Ohio counties, allowing those counties to eliminate night and weekend early voting hours... even as Republican-leaning counties expanded their early voting hours. In response to a national outcry, Husted enforced “uniformity” by requiring all counties to bring early voting opportunities down to the lowest common denominator, including cutting off night and weekend voting and eliminating early voting in the three days before the election. When a federal judge ordered Husted to reopen voting in the three days before the election, he flatly refused to comply, saying it would “confuse voters.” Eventually he relented, but as the election approached he appealed the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court.

Since the 2012 election, Husted has kept up his efforts to restrict early voting in 2014, fighting to eliminate the so-called “Golden Week” of early voting — in which voters can register and cast their ballots in one visit — and to cut early voting hours, including on Sundays, a time frequently used by African American churches for get-out-the-vote efforts.

Husted faces a Democrat state Sen. Nina Turner, a major critic of his record on voting rights. Although the two were neck-and-neck in an early poll, a recent poll shows Husted with a significant lead.

Arizona

Before Kansas ushered in its restrictive “proof of citizenship” law, Arizona was already fighting for a similar measure. In 2004, Arizona voters passed Proposition 200, a medley of anti-immigrant and voter suppression measures including a requirement that those registering to vote present one of a narrow set of documents to prove that they are citizens. The Supreme Court struck down the provision in 2013, saying that it was preempted by federal law — but left a loophole, suggesting that Arizona could sue the federal Election Assistance Commission to require that federal voter registration forms used in the state include the extra “proof of citizenship” requirement. So Arizona did just that, joined by Kansas under Kobach.

That case is still working its way through the courts, but it’s left a peculiar situation in Kansas and Arizona where Kobach and his Arizona counterpart Secretary of State Ken Bennett have set up dual-track voting systems in their states in which people who register to vote with a federal form but do not provide additional citizenship documents are allowed to vote in federal elections, but not in state elections. As we noted above, of about 200 Kansans on the special limited-rights voting track in this year’s primary election, just one voted. In Arizona, about 1,500 were put on the limited track, and 21 cast ballots.

Bennett isn’t up for reelection this year — he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for governor — but the race to succeed him will determine the future implementation of Arizona’s restrictive requirements. Republican Michele Reagan sought and won Kobach’s endorsement, boasting that she voted for the infamous anti-immigrant bill that Kobach helped bring to Arizona. In the state senate, Reagan wrote a bill that, among other voting restrictions, would prevent community groups from collecting and delivering mail-in ballots, a method commonly used in voting drives by Latino groups. When an effort to repeal the bill by referendum started to gain steam, Reagan and her fellow Republicans worked to repeal it first, thus allowing the state legislature to bring back parts of the bill in a piecemeal fashion.

Reagan is facing off against Democrat Terry Goddard, a former state attorney general and mayor of Phoenix. Both candidates have said they want tighter disclosure requirements for “dark money” spending by outside groups. But when the Koch-backed 60 Plus Association bought $304,000 in ads attacking Goddard last week, she refused to distance herself from the dark money effort.

Reagan also struggled this week to explain her vote for Arizona’s so-called “birther bill,” which would have required presidential candidates to prove to the secretary of state that they are native-born American citizens.

Other States To Watch: Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas, Iowa

In Colorado, Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler — a key Kobach ally and crusader against the supposed scourge of Democratic “organized voter fraud” who last year tried to stop county clerks from sending ballots to voters who had not voted in the the last election — is stepping down this year, having tried and failed to get his party’s gubernatorial nomination. In the race to replace him are Republican El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams, described by the Denver Post as Gessler’s “lone public ally” among clerks in the ballot controversy, and Democratic attorney Joe Neguse. The two differ on the sweeping elections overhaul Colorado passed last year, which allows same-day voter registration and requires the state to mail a ballot to every voter.

New Mexico’s secretary of state race has incumbent Republican Dianna Duran pitted against Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a rising Democratic star. Toulouse Oliver is emphasizing “full participation across a wide spectrum of the electorate” in her campaign, while Durran is accusing her of using “community-organizer, consultant-styled rhetoric.” In a TV ad that doubles as a promotion for right-wing myths about widespread voter fraud, Durran accuses Toulous Oliver of “registering a dog to vote.” In reality, a right-wing activist tried to register his dog to try to prove a point; he was caught and Toulouse Oliver referred his case to the proper authorities.

Earlier this month, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the state’s voter ID requirement, a ruling that Secretary of State Mark Martin is vowing to fight. As the case worked its way through the courts, Arkansas voters got conflicting messages from elections officials under Martin’s leadership. He faces a challenge from Democrat Susan Inman.

In Iowa, outgoing Secretary of State Matt Schultz spent $150,000 in taxpayer money in a quest to root out voter fraud in Iowa…and found none. He also conducted a voter roll purge that critics called an attempt to  intimidate Latino voters.” The race to succeed him — between Republican voter ID supporter Paul Pate and Democrat Brad Anderson — is locked in a dead heat.

PFAW’s Dolores Huerta Energizes Latino Voters in Colorado and Georgia

With Election Day rapidly approaching, get-out-the-vote outreach is heating up in key states across the country. This week, civil rights legend and PFAW board member Dolores Huerta is busy getting out the vote. She’s on the ground with PFAW staff energizing Latino voters in two critical midterm states: Colorado and Georgia.

Yesterday Huerta spoke at two kick-off events in Colorado for local canvassers going door-to-door to get out the vote. The first event, hosted by NextGen Climate Colorado and PFAW, drew scores of enthusiastic canvassers ready to talk to voters about pressing environmental issues and turn people out to the polls.

Later in the day, she met with Latino volunteers and canvassers gearing up to do voter turnout work in their communities – critical work in a state where the Senate race is tight and every vote counts.

Today Huerta has headed to Georgia with other members of the PFAW team to meet with more local organizers, speak at a rally, and encourage local residents to cast their ballots on Tuesday.

As Huerta said yesterday:

The Latino vote can decide the election, as we have done in other states. We need to elect people who are going to protect us – to protect our health, our safety, and work to pass immigration reform. It’s up to each one of us. We need to contact our friends and families to make sure they vote.

Indeed, Latino voters may prove to be decisive in a number of tight races. In both Colorado and Georgia, as well as in four other states with close Senate races, the Latino portion of the electorate is larger than the polling margin between the candidates. PFAW will continue to be on the ground in these states, working to ensure that Latino voters are informed, engaged, and ready to cast a vote on Election Day.
 

PFAW

New Spanish-Language Radio Ad Supporting Mark Udall Airs in Colorado

Starting today, a new Spanish-language radio ad supporting Senator Mark Udall will hit the airwaves in Colorado. The ad is part of a NextGen Climate and PFAW Spanish-language campaign to highlight the stark differences between Udall and GOP candidate Cory Gardner on issues important to Latino voters.

The radio ad underscores Udall’s support for immigration reform and environmental protections. It points out that Udall is “the only candidate who supports immigration reform” in the Senate race.

Latinos make up roughly 14 percent of the state’s electorate, and a recent poll of Latino registered occasional voters in Colorado showed that 89 percent are either “almost certain to” or will “probably” vote in the midterms, making this community a critical voice in the tight Senate race. PFAW and NextGen Climate have been working together in the state to engage and turn out Latino voters. The two organizations recently began airing Spanish-language TV ads in Colorado highlighting GOP candidate Cory Gardner’s record of supporting polluters and encouraging voters to cast their ballots for Udall instead.

You can read a transcript of the new radio ad, as well as an English translation, below.

Los republicanos nos quieren engañar acerca de quién es Mark Udall. Pero no lo lograrán. Mark Udall es un auténtico defensor de la comunidad.Udall ha luchado para mantener limpios el aire y el agua, protegiendo la salud de nuestros hijos. Además, él es el único candidato que sí apoya la reforma migratoria.

Tu voto es tu poder. ¡Votar ahora es muy fácil! Busca la boleta de votación que fue enviada a tu casa. Márcala y envíala por correo inmediatamente.¡Así de fácil! Confiamos en Mark Udall porque él nos dice la verdad y por eso, merece tú voto. Marca tu boleta y envíala por correo hoy mismo. El voto es tu poder. ¡Usalo!


VO Disclaimer: Pagado por NextGenClimate Action Committee, nextgenclimate.org. No está autorizado por ningún candidato o comité del candidato. NextGen Climate Action Committee es responsable por el contenido de este anuncio. Endosado por People For the American Way.

English translation of radio ad:

Republicans want to deceive us about Mark Udall. But they won’t accomplish it. Mark Udall is a champion for our community. He’s fought to keep our air and water safe – to protect our children’s health. Udall is the only candidate who supports immigration reform.

Your power is your vote. And now voting is easy! Search for the ballot that was mailed to your home. Just mark your ballot and mail it back immediately. It’s that simple! We trust Democrat Mark Udall because he tells us the truth – and that’s why he deserves our vote. Mark your ballot and mail it back today. The vote is your power. Use it!


VO Disclaimer:
Paid for by NextGen Climate Action Committee, nextgenclimate.org.  Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.  NextGen Climate Action Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising. Endorsed by People For the American Way.

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PFAW

PFAW and NextGen Climate Release New Spanish-Language TV Ad in Colorado

Today People For the American Way (PFAW) and NextGen Climate released a new Spanish-language TV ad highlighting the stark contrast between GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner’s record of supporting polluters and Democratic candidate Mark Udall’s commitment to protecting the health of Colorado children. The ad will air in Denver and Colorado Springs.

“The difference between these two candidates could not be greater,” said Randy Borntrager, political director of People For the American Way. “Udall is fighting for everyday families while Gardner is pushing a destructive agenda that benefits the few. Access to clean air and clean water is critical in the lives of real Coloradans, including those in the Latino community. We’re making sure voters keep these differences in mind on Election Day, and reminding them how easy and important it is to cast a ballot.”

“Congressman Gardner's polluter-friendly policies threaten the safety and health of the Latino community, and Colorado families across the state,” said Georgie Aguirre-Sacasa, state director of NextGen Climate Colorado. “Latino voters have the power to keep Gardner and his harmful policies out of the Senate.”

Two weeks ago, PFAW and NextGen Climate released a first Spanish-language TV ad challenging Gardner on his record of standing on the side of polluters and wealthy donors.

This ad push is the latest step in People For the American Way’s multi-year, nationwide campaign to engage Latino voters in key states by shedding light on the agendas of GOP candidates on issues ranging from immigration to education to the environment. NextGen Climate Colorado is working on the ground in Colorado’s communities to expose Gardner’s extreme positions on critical issues like climate change, and to empower voters to hold him accountable at the ballot box.

The script of the TV ad reads:

Este es tu poder. Poder, para frenar al republicano Cory Gardner, quien apoya a contaminadores multi-millonarios que envenenan el agua y el aire. Poder para elegir al demócrata Mark Udall, quien lucha para proteger la salud de nuestros hijos.

Marca la boleta que recibiste y envíalo por correo inmediatamente. ¡Así de fácil! Usemos el buzón del correo para votar y elegir a Mark Udall. Este es tu poder. ¡Úsalo!
 

VO Disclaimer: People For the American Way y NextGen Climate Action Committee son responsables por el contenido de este anuncio.

English translation:

This is your power. The power to stop Republican Cory Gardner, who supports billionaire polluters that poison our air and water. The power to elect Democrat Mark Udall, who’s fighting to protect the health of our children.

Mark the ballot you received in the mail and send it back immediately. It’s that simple! Let’s use our mailboxes to vote, and elect Mark Udall. This is your power. Use it!
 

VO Disclaimer: People For the American Way and NextGen Climate Action Committee are responsible for the content of this advertising.

###
 

Klingenschmitt: Gay Activists 'Want Your Soul'

On his "Pray In Jesus Name" program today, Colorado pastor and GOP state house candidate Gordon Klingenschmitt railed against a situation in Kentucky in which a t-shirt printing business was found to have violated the city's nondiscrimination ordinance when it refused to print up shirts for a local gay organization, which he cited to declare that it is the goal of gay activists to force Christians to violate God's law and end up in Hell.

Insisting that measures which bar discrimination against gay customers are a violation of the First Amendment, Klingenschmitt proclaimed that gay rights activists are driven by a demonic spirit that seeks to force Christians to "disobey God" so that they will wind up in Hell.

"They want your soul," Klingenschmitt said. "They won't be satisfied with your money. They don't really want the t-shirts. They want your soul. They want you to disobey God so that you go to Hell with them. It's not enough that they go to Hell for disobeying God, they want you to disobey God so that we all go to Hell. That's the Devil's goal in the end":

New Spanish-Language Radio Ad in Colorado Calls Out Gardner on His Extreme Views

Radio listeners in Colorado will be hearing a new Spanish-language radio ad today highlighting the stark differences between the Senate candidates’ stances on environmental issues.

The ad, aired by NextGen Climate and supported by People For the American Way, sheds light on GOP candidate Rep. Cory Gardner’s ties to wealthy special interests who pollute the environment as well as Democratic candidate Sen. Mark Udall’s commitment to protecting clear air and water for Colorado families. The ad closes with a call to action for voters: “Let’s remember: our vote is our strength.”

On Monday, PFAW and NextGen Climate began airing a TV ad that also calls Gardner out on his record of standing on the side of polluters and wealthy donors. This work is part of a multi-year, nationwide campaign to engage Latino voters in key states that PFAW has been leading since 2011.

You can read a transcript of the ad, as well as an English translation, below.


El republicano Cory Gardner nos quiere engañar.

Dice que valora a nuestra comunidad, pero su campaña acepta dinero de contaminadores multimillonarios que envenenan el aire y agua. Y nosotros estamos expuestos a la contaminación ambiental hasta 4 veces más que a otros residentes de Colorado.

Por esto ¿A quien apoyaremos este Noviembre? ¡Al demócrata Mark Udall!

El lucha para que tengamos agua limpia y aire sano en nuestros hogares y vecindarios.¡Y el protege la salud de nuestras familias y de nuestros hijos por que valora a nuestra comunidad! Por eso, en estas elecciones tenemos la responsabilidad hacia nuestro pueblo de votar por Mark Udall.

Recordemos: nuestro voto es nuestra fuerza.

VO Disclaimer:
Pagado por NextGenClimate Action Committee, nextgenclimate.org. No está autorizado por ningun candidato o comité del candidato. NextGen Climate Action Committee es responsable por el contenido de este anuncio. Apoyado por People For the American Way.

English translation:

Republican Cory Gardner wants to deceive us.

He says he values our community, but he takes money for his campaign from billionaire polluters who poison the air and water. And we are exposed to pollution by as much as 4 times greater than other Colorado residents.

Because of this, who will we be supporting this November? Democrat Mark Udall!

He fights so that we have clean air and water in our neighborhoods and homes. And he protects the health of our families and children because he values our community! That’s why we have the responsibility to our community to vote for Mark Udall in this election.

Let’s remember: our vote is our strength.

VO Disclaimer:
Paid for by NextGen Climate Action Committee, nextgenclimate.org.  Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.  NextGen Climate Action Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising. Supported by PFAW.

PFAW

PFAW's 2014 Active States

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PFAW's 2014 Activity

PFAW 2014

PFAW Activity by State

  • Colorado: TV ads
    WATCH: "Engaño" ("Deceit")
  • Georgia: TV and radio ads
    WATCH: "Un Futuro Mejor" ("A Better Future")
    WATCH: "Values"
  • Kentucky: Field organizer on the ground
  • New Hampshire: Field organizer on the ground
  • North Carolina: TV and radio ads
    WATCH: "Respect"
  • Pennsylvania: Field organizer on the ground
  • Virginia: Online ads
  • Wisconsin: Field organizer on the ground

Nothing To See Here: The Alternate Reality Of Voter-Suppression Advocates

It’s been a rough few days for voter-ID proponents. On Thursday, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office came out with a report showing that restrictive photo-ID measures had depressed turnout in Tennessee and Kansas, especially among young people and African Americans. The same day, the Supreme Court blocked the implementation of a photo-ID law in Wisconsin that voting rights advocates said there was not enough time to implement before the election and a federal judge in Texas struck down that state’s restrictive law, citing its impact on minority voters and calling it an “unconstitutional poll tax.”

Then, the next day, renowned conservative 7th Circuit judge Richard Posner requested a full-court rehearing of the challenge to Wisconsin’s law, in the process offering a blistering takedown of the voter-ID crowd’s arguments. "There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens,” he wrote. He added a special dig at the advocacy group True the Vote, calling some of their supposed evidence of voter-impersonation fraud “goofy” and “paranoid.”

Then, just today, University of Delaware researchers came out with a study showing that support for voter ID laws among whites jumps when they are shown a picture of a black person voting.

All of which made a Heritage Foundation panel today called “Keeping Elections Honest” seem like it was taking place in an alternate reality, one in which the extremely rare voter-impersonation fraud is in fact rampant and in which laws making it more difficult to vote do not have negative effects.

The Heritage discussion featured some of the nation’s top proponents of voter suppression measures, including Heritage’s Hans von Spakovsky, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (the brains behind anti-immigrant and voter suppression measures around the country), Kobach’s Colorado counterpart Scott Gessler and True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht.

Kobach spent part of his presentation attempting to refute the GAO study, but the court rulings went mostly unmentioned.

This alternate reality was perhaps most stark when, during a question-and-answer session, a reporter asked Kobach about the two-tiered voting system he’s instituted in Kansas for the coming election. Kobach and Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett are in the process of suing the Election Assistance Commission to include a more restrictive “proof of citizenship” requirement on the federal voter registration forms it uses in those two states. In the meantime, Kansas and Arizona are allowing people who register using the federal form without providing additional documentation to vote…but only in federal elections. (Votes those people cast in state-level elections won’t be counted.)

About 1,500 Arizonans and 200 Kansans were put in this special federal-only voting tier in the primary.

Kobach, far from seeming concerned about this state of affairs, proudly reported that of the 200 Kansans to whom he gave special limited voting rights, only one bothered to show up at the polls.

In the primary on August 5, we had fewer than 200 total voters in the state who had registered using the federal form and had not provided photo ID. Using that number, we then created a sort of federal-elections-only voter roll, if you will, so a roll in addition to the main voter roll. And it didn’t include all of the 105 counties, it included a minority of the counties. And then those people, when they showed up, they were to be given a provisional ballot and told that they would be — actually it would occur on the back end, even if the poll worker didn’t know that that’s why they were being given a provisional ballot, the county canvas would count only the federal elections on the ballot.

So anyway, to answer your question, we are going to be doing a count, a final count – our registration actually closes today, this is the final day to register in Kansas – as soon as it closes, we’ll have a final count. My guess is it probably will be in the range of maybe 300-400, we’ll know soon what that number is, for the whole state. And by the way, of those fewer than 200 people— if memory serves, it was like 186 or something like that — only one actually showed up to vote out of that entire number. So, we’ll see what the number is. So the numbers are actually pretty small and pretty manageable right now and we’re hopeful that we’ll get a decision that will be a favorable one and then we won’t have to maintain a separate, federal-elections-only list.

At no point in the discussion did anyone mention the thousands of Kansans who currently have no right to vote in any kind of election because they haven’t been able to produce one of the few kinds of citizenship documentation required by the new state voter registration form.

New PFAW and NextGen Climate Spanish-Language Ad Challenges Gardner in Colorado

People For the American Way and NextGen Climate today released a new Spanish-language TV ad challenging Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner on his record of standing on the side of polluters and wealthy donors. The ad will air in Denver and Colorado Springs.

“Cory Gardner has made clear who he’s fighting for, and it sure isn’t Colorado families,” said Randy Borntrager, Political Director of People For the American Way. “From supporting those who want to pollute the environment to prioritizing the agendas of wealthy donors, Gardner has an alarming track record. Latino voters deserve to know what’s at stake here.”

“Congressman Gardner denies the basic science of climate change and would allow corporate polluters to continue putting Colorado’s families and communities at risk,” said Abby Leeper, NextGen Climate Colorado spokesperson. “His views run counter to the views of a majority of Coloradans, including those in our Latino communities. We need a leader who will act on climate change now—not deny the facts."

This ad push is the latest step in People For the American Way’s multi-year, nationwide campaign to engage Latino voters in key states by shedding light on the agendas of GOP candidates on issues ranging from immigration to education to the environment. NextGen Climate Colorado is working on the ground in Colorado’s communities to expose Gardner’s extreme positions on critical issues like climate change, and empower voters to hold him accountable at the ballot box.

The script of the TV ad reads:

El republicano Cory Gardner nos quiere engañar.

Dice que valora a nuestra comunidad, pero apoya a contaminadores que envenenan nuestro aire y el agua, contaminan nuestros vecindarios, y ponen en peligro la salud de nuestros hijos.

¿Valores? Por favor. La campaña de Gardner aceptó miles de dolares de republicanos ricos y solo hace lo mejor para ellos.

Pero, no nos engaña. ¡Por eso votaremos contra Cory Gardner!

VO DISCLAIMER:

People For the American Way y NextGen Climate Action Comite son responsables por el contenido de este anuncio.

English translation:

Republican Cory Gardner wants to deceive us.  

He says he values our community, but he supports polluters who poison our air and water, pollute our neighborhoods, and put our children’s health in danger.

Values? Please. Gardner's campaign accepted thousands of dollars from rich Republicans and he does what's best for them.

But, we aren’t fooled. That’s why we’re voting against Cory Gardner.

VO: People For the American Way and NextGen Climate Action Committee are responsible for the content of this advertising.

PFAW Political Director Randy Borntrager and PFAW Coordinator of Political Campaigns Carlos Sanchez are available for interviews with the press. To arrange an interview, please contact Layne Amerikaner at media@pfaw.org / 202-467-4999.

###

Gordon Klingenschmitt's Embarrassing Campaign Rolls On

Ever since he won the Republican primary and became the official GOP nominee for an open seat in the Colorado state legislature, Gordon Klingenschmitt has proven himself to be a complete embarrassment to his party as party officials and fellow Republicans have repeatedly denounced him.

The state GOP has quickly learned that having a radical Religious Right activist and anti-gay exorcist as its candidate is creating nothing but headaches since Klingenschmitt seems to have no idea what he is doing, as he demonstrated once again when he recently told local residents who asked to meet with him to discuss his rabidly anti-gay views that he would not do so until after the election and even then, he'd only be willing to meet after screening them because he fears for this safety:

Gordon Klingenschmitt, a Colorado Springs state House candidate who has gotten attention from making controversial statements, told three members of the Colorado Springs lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community he would only meet with them after the election and only if his "security staff" screened the attendees first to determine whether it would be a "safe meeting."

"Sadly, I've received threats from people who hate religious freedom, and I wonder if the following video is representative of the behavior of some people with whom you are inviting me to meet?" Klingenschmitt wrote in an email.

The video attached is of Anita Bryant - the singer who vocally opposed LGBT rights in the '70s - getting a pie thrown in her face during a live television interview nearly four decades ago.

...

Steve Durham, a Republican activist and lobbyist, said the El Paso County Republican Executive Director Daniel Cole was included in the exchange and sent a response to Klingenschmitt rebuking him.

"The response from the party was that Mr. Klingenschmitt's email was inappropriate and uncalled for and that he should chose his words more carefully," Durham said. "There was a note of pretty strong disapproval."

Yet despite his radical record, it looks like the state Republican party can expect to have him around for the foreseeable future.

As Klingenschmitt barrels along with a huge fundraising advantage, he is insisting that his opponent is the real extremist:

As of Sept. 29, Klingenschmitt has spent more than $42,079, compared with Fornander's $827, according to the secretary of state.

Secretary of state voter registration statistics as of Oct. 1 
show 18,296 registered Republicans, 7,791 registered Democrats and 14,061 unaffiliated voters in the district.

Klingenschmitt, an Air Force Academy graduate, believes his views represent the district, which includes eastern Colorado Springs and Peterson Air Force Base.

He believes local control in education, lower taxes and less regulation for businesses and a protection of constitutional rights are the biggest issues in the upcoming 
election.

"My opponent is far more extreme on the left than I am in the center right," Klingenschmitt said.

Paul Cameron Warns That 'A Gay' May Be Coming For Your Son

Today's "Pray In Jesus Name" program featured the first segment in a multi-part, in-person interview that host Gordon Klingenschmitt conducted with notorious anti-gay "researcher" Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute and it turned out to be every bit as crazy as one would expect an interview between an anti-gay exorcist and an advocate for executing gays to be.

Klingenschmitt, who is currently the Republican nominee for a seat in the Colorado state legislature, asked Cameron if gay people "use molestation as a recruiting tool," and Cameron assured him that they most certainly do.

"Homosexuals, from the get-go, as long as we have recorded history, have used the molestation of boys as a way to recruit to homosexuality," Cameron declared, claiming that his "studies" have found that sixty percent of boys who reported that their first sexual experience was a same-sex experience grow up to be gay.

"So this is a tremendous recruitment tool," he said. "If a gay can get to your son first, the chances are about 50-50, as near as we can tell, that your son is going to be a practicing homosexual to some degree."

"It's very important to keep your sons from having a homosexual experience," he emphasized:

Klingenschmitt and Cameron then discussed Cameron's work making it illegal for gays to donate blood, which Cameron said is a prohibition that must remain in place today because gays travel the world where they have reckless sex and pick up all sorts of exotic diseases that endanger the rest of society.

"What gays do is so dangerous, I mean, rectal sex. I mean, think of all of the stuff that they do," Cameron said. "You don't know what else is out there. We still don't know all the components in human blood. They've got other stuff, if there's something over in another country in the world, given that gays travel more, given that gays have sex wherever they travel, uh oh, they bring back whatever is out there and there's always something new out there."

"So there still needs to be a ban," concluded Kingenschmitt:

'Klingenschmitt Has No Business In Public Office'

Yesterday the Colorado Springs Independent ran an article noting that electing Gordon Klingenschmitt to a seat in the state House of Representatives is probably not going to help the area's image, given Klingenschmitt's long history of insane statements.

So radical is Klingenschmitt that even Republican leaders in the state are working to distance themselves from him and to distance him from the party, largely in response to his recent statement that gay Democratic congressman Jared Polis would soon join ISIS and begin beheading Christians here in America:

The incident has prompted some party leaders to try to put him at arm's length. "Gordon does not speak on behalf of the Republican Party, and his comments in no way reflect the views of the Party," state GOP spokesman Owen Loftus said in a statement.

Although El Paso County GOP Chairman Jeff Hays told KOAA that Klingenschmitt is "part of our team," party executive Daniel Cole says via email that "In parts of the KOAA interview that did not air, Chairman Hays indicated, and now wants to emphasize, that he does not condone Gordon Klingenschmitt's comments. Klingenschmitt does not speak for the party or for other candidates, and the party does not speak for him."

...

Klingenschmitt declined to be interviewed for this story. In a February interview, he told the Independent he keeps his politics and religion separate. Fornander disputes that, citing his repeated references to religion during his campaign, including a comment that only people who are going to heaven are entitled to equal treatment under the law.

That kind of thing is beyond the pale for retired state Sen. Andy McElhany. "In my opinion, Klingenschmitt has no business in public office," the Republican says, "because he's more than extreme." McElhany added that electing someone like Klingenschmitt doesn't help the region's image.

Which brings us back to [El Paso County Democratic Party executive Christy] Le Lait. "At some point, the people in this county are going to have to ask themselves, 'What do we want?'" she says. "Are we serious about bringing jobs and economic development, or are we OK with being called the capital of crazy?"

The idea that Klingenschmitt will keep his religion and politics separate is laughable considering that we have multiple examples of Klingenschmitt saying exactly the opposite. As a matter of fact, just yesterday he said that America's foreign policy needs to be based on his interpretation of the Bible.

On top of that, he has defended the Second Amendment on the grounds that the Bible says Christians need to own weapons in order to protect themselves from "left wing crazies."

He has said that gay marriage can never be legalized because it violates God's law and defended anti-gay laws on the grounds that recruiting children into homosexuality is "totally illegal in the economy and law of God."

He has declared that those who cannot enter church are not entitled to use public facilities, said that those who will not enter Heaven are not entitled to equal protection under the law, and asserted that gay people should face discrimination as a matter of public policy.

Nothing better demonstrates the absurdity of Klingenschmitt's claim that he will separate his religion from his politics than this clip of him openly declaring that "American law needs to reflect God's law":

Despite the copious evidence that, as Colorado's former Republican Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany put it, "Klingenschmitt has no business in public office," Klingenschmitt has managed to outraise his Democratic opponent nearly 15-1 in the race for the seat representing a heavily Republican district:

Gordon Klingenschmitt, the Republican aiming to win House District 15 on the eastern edge of Colorado Springs, has raised $44,914 to date, while Democratic candidate Lois Fornander has raised $3,312.

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