Colorado

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.

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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

Support Our Work

Help defeat Tea Party Republicans in this critical election year!

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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.

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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.

Klingenschmitt Denounced By Colorado Republican Leader Whose Seat He Hopes To Fill

The other day we noted that Gordon Klingenschmitt had been forced to issue a half-hearted apology after sending out an email asserting that gay Democratic congressman Jared Polis would soon be aligning himself with ISIS and begin beheading Christians in America.

Klingenschmitt, who is currently the GOP nominee for a seat in the Colorado legislature, was immediately denounced by both Democratic and Republican leaders in the state and now he has been specifically denounced by former House Minority Leader, Mark Waller, who held the very seat for which Klingenschmitt is now running:

Former House Minority Leader Mark Waller on Aug. 27 blasted the fellow Republican who is seeking to succeed him over his recent "horribly inappropriate" anti-gay comments.

Waller, who is not seeking re-election for his Colorado Springs-based House District 15 seat, also told Colorado Community Media that Gordon Klingenschmitt's candidacy "certainly does have an impact" on other races on the fall ballot.

...

Waller said his "11-year-old son can identify that as a hateful speech."

"I think it was horribly inappropriate to say," Waller said. "It doesn't matter if he's a person running for state representative or a person on the street. I think it's terrible to say.

"Obviously, he does not speak for me or the Republican Party."

Waller hasn't endorsed Klingenschmitt, but he wouldn't go as far as saying that he should drop out of the race - as Klingenschmitt's opponent, Democrat Lois Fornander has.

"If you're not voting for him, you're voting for the Democrat and quite honestly legislative majorities matter," Waller said. "But that puts (House District 15 voters) in a rock and a hard place in terms of who to vote for."

House District 15 is heavily Republican and Klingenschmitt is still favored to win, in spite of his recent comments.

For his part, Klingenschmitt says that he is sorry for his comments but blames it on the fact that he wrote the email late at night.

"I'm a first-time candidate," Klingenschmitt said, "and I am new at this":

Klingenschmitt apologized earlier in the week and did so again during a phone interview. He said he was trying to point out the "bad policies of Jared Polis," but that he realizes his comments were offensive.

Klingenschmitt has taken issue with Polis' backing of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He said the legislation should have religious exceptions.

"I apologize for the hyperbole and I wrote that statement when I was tired between 1 and 2 in the morning, but I do not apologize for defending Christians for persecution."

When asked if it dawned on him that he was using language that has historically been used to persecute gays while trying to defend Christians from "persecution," Klingenschmitt said, "I don't accept the premise of the question."

Klingenschmitt said he hopes voters will see past his comments.

"I'm a first-time candidate and I am new at this," he said. "I made a mistake and I won't always say the right thing, but I do have a backbone and I will always stand on conviction."

Klingenschmitt 'Apologizes' For Accusing Rep. Jared Polis Of Wanting To Join ISIS & Behead Christians

Over the weekend, Gordon Klingenschmitt, the demon-obsessed anti-gay exorcist who is the GOP nominee for a seat in the Colorado legislature, sent out an email from his Pray In Jesus Name organization in which he declared that gay Democratic congressman Jared Polis would soon be aligning himself with ISIS and begin beheading Christians here in America:

“The openly homosexual Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced a revised bill to force Christian employers and business owners to hire and promote homosexuals with ZERO RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS for Christians who want to opt out.

“Polis ‘wants sexual orientation and gender identity treated the same way as race, religion, sex, and national origin, when it comes to employment protections,’ claims the Advocate, under the headline “Polis trims ENDA’s religious exemption.

“Dr. Chaps’ comment: The open persecution of Christians is underway. Democrats like Polis want to bankrupt Christians who refuse to worship and endorse his sodomy. Next he’ll join ISIS in beheading Christians, but not just in Syria, right here in America.”

Needless to say, that comment did not sit well with Democratic or Republican leaders in Colorado who quickly denounced Klingenschmitt:

The accusation prompted Mark Ferrandino, Speaker of the Colorado House, to condemn the remarks and demand that Colorado Republicans do the same.

“I call on Ryan Call and other Republicans to denounce Mr. Klingenschmitt and his homophobic, extreme, and slanderous attacks against Congressman Polis,” said Ferrandino in a statement.

GOP officials in Colorado have disowned Klingenschmitt before and this time was no different.

“As Chairman Call has said in the past, Gordon does not speak on behalf of the Republican Party, and his comments in no way reflect the views of the Party. Gordon needs to give a sincere apology,” said Owen Loftus, a Colorado GOP spokesman, in a statement.

In response, Klingenschmitt filmed a video in which he half-heartedly apologized, saying that he was merely using hyperbole and "some Democrats do not have a sense of humor," before dumping a bucket of water on his head as he challenged Polis, as well as Ferrandino and Call, to take the ALS #IceBucketChallenge:

CO State Senator Explains That Fracking Poses No Danger Because Having High Amounts Of Methane In The Water Is Totally Natural

A few weeks ago, Gordon Klingenschmitt attended the The Western Conservative Summit in Denver where he managed to score interviews with a variety of elected Republicans and conservative activists, which he has been featuring on his daily "Pray In Jesus Name" program.

On today's show, Klingenschmitt interviewed Colorado state Senator Randy Baumgardner, who defended the practice of fracking by declaring that having high amounts of methane in the water is totally natural.

"They talk about methane in the water and this, that, and the other," Baumgardner told Klingenschmitt, "but if you go back in history and look at how the Indians traveled, they traveled to the burning waters. And that was methane in the waters and that was for warmth in the wintertime. So a lot of people, if they just trace back the history, they'll know how a lot of this is propaganda":

Yes, Latino Vote Can Have Big Impact This Election

The Latino population is growing, and with it a bloc of eligible Latino voters. From 2000 to 2010, the Latino population grew by 43% according to the Census bureau. That population has continued to grow from 2010 until today, making up over 16% of the total population, which means more Latinos than ever are becoming eligible to vote each year. Despite this growth, Nate Cohn argued in his New York Times column last week that this voting bloc won’t make a difference in the November elections:

“Yet the vote is unlikely to deal a severe blow to the [Republican] party’s chances in November’s midterm elections. Hispanic voters may be flexing their growing political muscles in presidential elections, but they have far less sway over the composition of the House or the Senate, particularly in 2014.”

While it is true that many of this year’s most critical Senate races aren’t in the states with the largest Latino populations, there are races in states where the growing Latino population can exercise major muscle and make a critical difference. Cohn’s argument fails to consider how this growing population coupled with the anti-immigrant rhetoric fueled by the Republican party can drive up Latino voter turnout this year. This can make a big difference in states with tight races.

In Colorado, for example, where the number of Latinos has grown significantly — by 41% between 2000 and 2010, now making up over 20% of the population —  this voting bloc can play a big role in a close race. Similarly, in states with tight races like Georgia and North Carolina, even though Latinos make up around 9% of the population, that population grew by 96% and 111% respectively since 2000. This dramatic growth makes this a voting bloc that can have a major impact in what are expected to be two very close elections.
 

PFAW

The Right Wing's Inflammatory Reaction to the Border Crisis

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As we’re dealing with the refugee crisis on the southern border, right-wing elected officials have amped up their inappropriate, inflammatory rhetoric to dehumanize immigrants and attack immigration reform:

  • Sen. Ted Cruz announced last week that his new “top priority”  in Washington is to end President Obama’s deferred action program for DREAMers and deport undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. While trying to soften his appearance by bringing teddy bears and soccer balls to children at the southern border, he proclaimed that “as long as that promise of amnesty is there, more and more children will come... We need to eliminate the promise of amnesty.”
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert claims children being held are a problem because “we don’t even know what all diseases they have” and added that our healthcare system “can’t withstand the influx,” which, he believes was orchestrated by President Obama to recruit millions of people to cast fraudulent ballots for Democrats.
  • Sen. David Vitter has “had it with undocumented immigrants,” and tweeted on Friday that “enough is enough.” To deal with the crisis, he introduced a bill that would “require mandatory detention for anyone” that is in the U.S. illegally, in order to get “illegal aliens on the next plane home.” (Mother Jones calculated that this effort would require more than 64,000 planes to actually work.)
  • Rep. Tom Tancredo shared a similar plan when he said that President Obama should “sign an executive order saying all these people ought to be returned. Put them on buses or planes, send them back to the countries from which they came and have the governments there take care of it.”
  • Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, claimed that these unaccompanied minors from Central America are probably “gangbangers” and questioned why they are being sent to this county in the first place.

Of course, elected extremists aren’t the only ones making outrageous statements:

  • The Minuteman Project’s Jim Gilchrist said this crisis is “part of a concerted effort to transfer populations of Central America and Mexico into the United States using minor children, illegal immigrants under the age of 18, as human shields… to detour our ability to enforce our immigration laws.”
  • The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios suggested the child refugees should be quarantined like lepers used to be, harking back to “biblical times” when the “lepers were separated” because it was “understood that leprosy was so contagious.” Rios' fretted that these children are transported in the “same planes that you and I fly in… How do we know about lice and disease before they get on public transportation?”
  • Jody Hice, running to replace Georgia Rep. Paul Broun in the U.S. House, suggested that people take up arms in response to “a government that refuses to secure our borders” because “that is the reason we have a Second Amendment.”

The Right Wing's inflammatory rhetoric distorts the reality of the crisis, causing more conflict and damage.

PFAW

Gordon Klingenschmitt Says Those Who Can't Enter Church Shouldn't Be Able To Use Public Restrooms

On his "Pray In Jesus Name" program yesterday, Gordon Klingenschmitt discussed a lawsuit filed against Hobby Lobby by a transgender female employee who claims that she was denied access to the women's restroom facilities.

Klingenschmitt, of course, was not at all sympathetic, citing Deuteronomy 23 to argue that since transgender people are not allowed in church, they should not be allowed to use gender-appropriate bathrooms.

"The Scriptures say in Deuteronomy 23," Klingenschmitt said, "that he that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord. And if they can't enter the congregation of the Lord, they certainly shouldn't be allowed to enter the ladies bathroom":

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