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FOUNDED IN 1898 H VOL. 114, NO. 29 H DENVER, CO H JULY 19, 2013 ©

THIS WEEK’S ISSUE:

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Brophy sets sights on Guv’s race

Magness Blake to raise $ for Coffman’s AG race — Page 15

Aims to take Hickenlooper out of office, but does he have a shot? BY PETER MARCUS THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Adam Dunstone to manage Udall’s reelection — Page 15

Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, is seen here firing an AR-15. The Republican will make gun rights a focus of his gubernatorial campaign. Brophy officially announced his candidacy on July 12 and then made a swing throughout part of the state. He joins former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and Secretary of State Scott Gessler for the GOP nomination against Gov. John Hickenlooper. PHOTO COURTESY OF GREG BROPHY FOR GOVERNOR Politics Uncorked samples summer wine scene — Page 18

Happy Birthday Bob Schaffer! July 24

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Baumgardner enters ‘14 U.S. Senate race BY PETER MARCUS

Republican state Sen. Greg Brophy of Wray says he is a difficult man to put into a box. But he says the complex nature of his political and private personalities will help him appeal to middle Colorado as he seeks his party’s nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2014. Brophy announced his candidacy on July 12 and embarked on a seven-stop statewide announcement tour that kicked off July 14 at the Wildlife Experience in Parker. His tour ended on Wednesday in Loveland. Continued on Page 3

Recall elections are on! Sens. John Morse, Angie Giron to face recall elections Sept. 10

THE COLORADO STATESMAN

State Sen. Randy Baumgardner, the mustachioed “Capitol cowboy” at the Gold Dome, has become the second high-profile Republican candidate vying to take on U.S. Sen. Mark Udall in 2014, adding to what could become a crowded primary field. Baumgardner announced his candidacy on July 12 in Granby, sporting his familiar Western-style hat. The rural Hot Sulphur Springs rancher this month joined state Sen. Owen Hill of Colorado Springs in announcing

BY PETER MARCUS THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Denver District Court Chief Judge Robert S. Hyatt ruled Thursday afternoon that recall elections to oust Democratic Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo must proceed. In doing so, Hyatt rejected lawsuits that would have invalidated petition signatures, and paved the way for Sept. 10 recall elections — the first Continued on Page 2

Continued on Page 4

The State of the City

@ ColoStatesman Visit our website: coloradostatesman.com

BY PETER MARCUS THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday delivered his second State of the City address, discussing plans for homeless and housing, as well as uplifting somewhat forgotten neighborhoods like Elyria-Swansea and Continued on Page 10

WIth an old Rio Grande Railroad dining car as the backdrop, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock addresses city officials and citizens of Denver during his second ‘State of the City’ speech at the Forney Museum of Transportation on July 15. City Council members Peggy Lehman (Dist. 4) and Albus Brooks (Dist. 8) applaud in the background. (Right) City Auditor Dennis Gallagher shakes hands with a fairly lackadaisical citizen of the Forney Museum, standing next to her horse. PHOTOS BY JOHN SCHOENWALTER/THE COLORADO STATESMAN


PAGE 2 ★ THE COLORADO STATESMAN ★ JULY 19, 2013 “Before God we are all equally wise and equally foolish.” — Albert Einstein

...Recall elections are a ‘fundamental right’ Continued from Page 1

in Colorado history that are sure to capture national attention. Attorneys representing Morse and Giron supporters originally said they would likely appeal to the Supreme Court. But on Thursday, the Morse and Giron camps both decided not to appeal the decision. “I am ready and eager for the Sept. 10 election,” Giron said in a statement. “This last legislative session was my best yet and this is a great opportunity to continue talking to folks in Pueblo about all our success. In the meantime, I continue to work hard and represent Pueblo.” “I started working for this community as an EMT, a paramedic or police officer in 1977,” added Morse. “I have dedicated my life to public service. I look forward to this election. I have already been elected twice, I am excited by the prospect of being elected a third time.” Hyatt — who ruled from the bench to speed along the process — called the recall elections a “fundamental right” of the people, opining that the law must be “liberally construed” in order to provide the electorate with a chance to decide the popular vote. “The court specifically finds that the recall process involves fundamental rights of a republican form of government which the people have reserved onto themselves… And any such law ‘must be liberally construed in favor of the right of the people to exercise that…’” Hyatt stated, citing Colorado case law. Morse and Giron supporters brought respective lawsuits before the Denver District Court after the Secretary of State’s Office validated signatures gathered by recall proponents in Senate Districts 11 and 3. Proponents in Morse’s SD 11 submitted 16,198 signatures, of which the secretary’s office accepted 10,137; they needed 7,178. Proponents in Giron’s SD 3 submitted 13,466, of which the secretary’s office validated 12,648; they needed 11,285. The two Democrats are facing recalls after supporting a package of gun control measures that banned high-capacity ammunition magazines of more than 15 rounds and require universal background checks and fees. The signatures were protested before the secretary’s office, arguing that the petition format language violated the state constitution by not including language that stated a demand for the election of a successor to the recalled official. The protest pointed to a 2002 Colorado Court of Appeals case, Combs v. Nowak, in which the appellate court invalidated signatures seeking to recall two Central City aldermen and the mayor because the petition failed to include a demand

for “an election of the successor…” constitution.” But Deputy Secretary of State But attorneys for both Republican Suzanne Staier opined that the “petiSecretary of State Scott Gessler and tion format laws must be liberally proponents fired back. Gessler hired construed in favor of allowing the recall attorney Steven Klenda, a former exercise.” Clearly Judge Hyatt agreed. attorney at Hackstaff Law Group, Beyond calling the election process a Gessler’s old law firm. Klenda argued fundamental right, Hyatt also pointed that it is a “fundamental right of the out that proponents were simply people to exercise a recall.” following directions provided by the Richard Westfall, a high-profile Secretary of State’s office, using a petiRepublican attorney who represented tion format that had been used and proponents, added, “Isn’t it telling that approved by a legion of secretary’s the plaintiffs can’t provide one recall before the current office. petition that contains the [demand] He also pointed out that no law language? requires that the successor language be “Let this recall election go forward,” included. he pleaded “Nothing in either the constitution Witnesses included Victor Head, who or in the election code explicitly states that the roponents… made a good faith demand effort to comply with all aspects of language… is an Colorado law regarding recalls.” Judge Hyatt essential inclusion on the face of any petition,” he stated. is leading efforts to recall Giron; Hyatt also disagreed that Combs v. Pueblo Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Nowak set any sort of precedent, Ortiz; Secretary of State Ballot Access pointing out that the appellate case was Manager Ben Schler; and Tom Jensen, not based on a requirement in the state director of Public Policy Polling. constitution. “This court agrees with the propoGessler files separate lawsuit nents and the secretary of state that Klenda filed a separate lawsuit on the Combs [case]… was not… behalf of Gessler, asking the court to presented with the question that is order a writ of mandamus that would essential to this case, whether or not have required Democratic Gov. John the demand language is required by the Hickenlooper to set an election date. constitution…” explained Hyatt. The move was controversial, as “Proponents… made a good faith Democrats pointed out that Gessler effort to comply with all aspects of hired Klenda, a former colleague. They Colorado law regarding recalls,” Hyatt questioned whether taxpayer dollars added. “They contacted the office of the should be spent on a private attorney secretary of state, they obtained the for a case that would already be template… they tried to comply with decided by the court as it examined the the requirements of the secretary of jurisprudence. state in terms of the template.” Republican Attorney General John Hyatt concluded his remarks on the Suthers backed Gessler’s decision to lawsuits by saying it would be pointless hire a private attorney because for the court to issue the preliminary Suthers’ office would normally repreinjunctions halting the recall process sent Hickenlooper, which would have because the cases have little chance of raised a significant conflict of interest. success. But whether there was a need for “The court finds that there is no the lawsuit itself was questionable. likelihood of success on the merits…” Judge Hyatt felt there was no need for he opined. the writ of mandamus, at times High-profile Democratic Denver scolding Klenda for bringing the suit. attorney Mark Grueskin represented “Would you advise your client to the camps for both Morse and Giron. ignore the court and just do it On Wednesday he led more than eight anyway?” Hyatt asked Klenda, pointing hours of testimony inside a packed, out that the court was asked to rule on sweltering courtroom at the City and the legal merits of the recall elections. County Building. Proponents and oppo“We’re done; the governor has to set nents sat side-by-side on uncomforta recall election,” responded Klenda, able, firm wooden benches as observers pointing out that the secretary’s office watched a gaggle of attorneys from all had already validated the signatures. sides call witnesses and argue their “The governor’s duty is ministerial; cases. mandatory,” he continued. “These petitions frankly don’t In his ruling on Thursday, Hyatt comply with the constitution…” argued again offered a scathing opinion in Grueskin, pointing to the demand denying the writ of mandamus. language, which he said exists in “The governor and the state of Article 21, Section 1 of the Colorado Colorado correctly determined that Constitution. “The constitution is the they would respect the judicial process and await this court’s ruling. Now the court has ruled,” stated Hyatt. “Moreover, proceeding with the recall election… would unnecessarily waste public funds in the event the court had invalidated the recall petition,” he continued. “Preparing for a recall petition prior to judicial review would risk voter confusion and a loss of voter confidence in the entire election process.” Democrats suggested that Gessler, a partisan conservative who is exploring a run for governor, perhaps had political motivations for spending taxpayer dollars to file the lawsuit. They pointed out that Gessler models himself a fiscal conservative, but already was found by an independent ethics panel to have improperly used public discretionary funds on private excursions. They said the recent lawsuit only adds to questions. “The ink is barely dry from his last ethics challenge, and now Gessler is forcing Colorado taxpayers to foot the

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PAGE 9 ★ THE COLORADO STATESMAN ★ JULY 19, 2013 “I want for myself what I want for other women, absolute equality.” — Agnes Macphail

..Governor signs executive order setting Sept. 10 for elections beyond their call of duty.” Head, who is leading efforts against Giron, said he was a bit surprised by the judge’s ruling, only because as a 28-year-old plumber, he is new to the judicial process and wasn’t confident following hours of testimony on Wednesday. But he believes Hyatt made the right decision. “At the end of the day, when we thought about it, it had to be the ruling that I think anyone should have given,” said Head. “When you look at the grand picture of recalls and what they’re for, how they’re initiated by the people, and you start holding them to tax code-like compliance standards, it basically renders the process ineffective.” The Colorado Statesman was the first to inform Head that neither Morse nor Giron would appeal the

Continued from Page 2

bill to hire his former law partner,” said Rick Palacio, chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party. “He’s shown that he’s not above blurring ethical lines in order to score a few partisan points.” Palacio then pointed to Gessler’s nickname, “Honey Badger,” adopted by liberals because of Gessler’s fearless approach to partisan politics. “Instead of the Honey Badger, Gessler is starting to look like Yosemite Sam,” quipped Palacio. “Willing to go to any length to score points and always eager to pull the trigger before he even takes aim.” Hickenlooper indicated on Tuesday that he felt Gessler was acting prematurely by filing the lawsuit. “I’m not sure why he would file a lawsuit for something that’s going to get decided in two days, but I’m not a lawyer,” the governor told The Denver Post. “It e needs to be judged on the entirety of seems sometimes elected officials have an itchy trigger finger.” his record, not just a few votes. There’s Just hours following the court ruling votes on oil and gas drilling, on clean air and on Thursday, Hickenlooper signed an clean water — these are huge industries that executive order designating Sept. 10 as the special recall election date in both he’s having to go up against.” Morse and Giron’s districts. The clerk — Kjersten Forseth, campaign consultant for Sen. John Morse and recorder in each district agreed upon that date. “We appreciate that the court decision. He responded, “They must see the writing acknowledged we did the right thing in waiting until on the wall at this point.” after its ruling to set the date,” Hickenlooper said in Kjersten Forseth, a campaign consultant for Morse, a statement. “This means the El Paso and Pueblo acknowledged that the battle ahead is going to be county clerks can begin their preparations for the long and hard. elections knowing that their efforts will not be for Already outside interests are pouring money into naught.” both Morse and Giron’s campaigns. Morse has raised a total of $153,013 in monetary contributions; Giron Stakeholders react has raised $87,418. Much of the money is coming Proponents were ecstatic following the ruling. from liberal groups as far away as Washington, D.C. Jennifer Kerns, spokeswoman for El Paso Basic Meanwhile, Pueblo Freedom and Rights, the issue Freedom Defense Fund, which is leading the effort committee leading the effort against Giron, has raised against Morse, highlighted that Judge Hyatt clearly only $23,773 in both itemized and non-itemized ruled in favor of the right to elections. contributions; El Paso Freedom Defense Committee, She also pointed out that Hyatt is a judge who has been known to rule against Republicans, signaling the which is working to oust Morse, has raised $84,118 in total contributions. significance of the opinion. Hyatt ruled in favor of Much of El Paso Freedom Defense Committee’s Democratic redistricting maps in 2011, siding with money comes from the conservative Colorado Springs Grueskin, who represented Democrats at the time. group I Am Created Equal, run by Republican “We said from the beginning… that it is a fundacampaign operative Laura Carno. Pueblo Freedom mental right as given in the Colorado Constitution, and it really comes down to we say, ‘Three strikes and and Rights has mostly individual donations and is running a largely grassroots campaign. you’re out,’” explained Kerns. “This is not a normal election,” laughed Forseth. “No. 1, more than 10,000 of John Morse’s The recalls are likely to garner national interest, as constituents turned in those signatures, same with the elections are also a referendum on gun control. Angela Giron; No. 2, the secretary of state, the highest election official in the land, upheld those peti- Organizations like Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the National Rifle Association may become involved. tions as completely constitutional… And No. 3, the Forseth pointed out that a recall election is twocourt has spoken and they spoke loudly and part. First it will include a “yes” or “no” question on clearly… that the recall proponents went above and

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whether to recall the legislator. Then it will contain a list of replacement candidates. “It’s going to require a lot of work on the part of the campaign and a lot less focus on how we can move Colorado forward in 2014, so I guess that’s unfortunate,” added Forseth. “He needs to be judged on the entirety of his record, not just a few votes,” she continued. “There’s votes on oil and gas drilling, on clean air and clean water — these are huge industries that he’s having to go up against… And if every time we had a disagreement on policy we had a recall, truthfully, Colorado would not move forward.”

GOP candidates Both Morse and Giron have 10 days from the judge’s ruling to resign office. In that case, a vacancy committee would be established and Democrats would preserve the seat. But neither campaign says they will employ that strategy. Meanwhile, Republican candidates must submit 1,000 petition signatures by the end of July 29 in order to run as a successor candidate. In both Morse and Giron’s districts, the GOP has rallied behind one candidate. The El Paso County Republican Party has chosen Bernie Herpin, a retired Navy and Air Force officer and former Colorado Springs councilman. He is also past president of the Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition. A central committee nominated Herpin after his opponent, Jaxine Bubis, a small business owner who was backed by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, was revealed as a romantic novelist. She described herself as “a grammy who writes erotic romance.” Much of her writing contained extremely pornographic scenes. “Republicans took an important step to build a unified front to recall John Morse and stand up for our constitutional rights,” Herpin said after winning the nomination on July 9. “Whether it’s our freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom of the press, right to keep and bear arms, or our states’ rights, every day we see liberal politicians like John Morse chipping away at our constitutional rights.” Of the two Democrats, Morse is considered to be the most vulnerable. He hails from Colorado Springs, a very Republican city, though his district leans more to the middle. That said, he only won the 2010 vote against Owen Hill by 340 votes. In Pueblo — which leans Democratic, though there is strong support for gun rights — Republicans have rallied around George Rivera, a retired Pueblo Police Department deputy chief and a blues musician. Rivera believes he can unseat Giron. “I think this election is rather unique,” he said. “The Democrats have kind of overstepped their bounds.” — Peter@coloradostatesman.com

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