The Colorado Rockies are Still In the Pennant Race

Play ball!!!


Colorado’s own Tom Tancredo made it official today: He’s running for President. As The Denver Post reports:

Colorado Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo declared his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election this morning on a radio talk show in Des Moines, Iowa.

Tancredo’s candidacy will be focused almost entirely on immigration issues, which he hopes to bring to the forefront among the leading Republican candidates of Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain…

…”The outpouring of support we have received over the past three months has been tremendous and, frankly, it has far exceeded what I anticipated,” Tancredo said this morning.

Get on board the Tancredo train. Next stop…fifth place.

Colorado Lib was live-blogging the Tancredo announcement this morning.


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Tancredo was encouraged to become a full-fledged candidate when he announced last month that his exploratory committee had raised $1 million. Meanwhile, here’s why Tancredo won’t be the next President of the United States: The top-tier candidates have $1 million in their campaign office seat cushions. As The Associated Press reports:

Shattering previous records, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton collected $26 million for her presidential campaign during the first three months of the year and transferred an additional $10 million from her Senate fundraising account, aides said Sunday.
The campaign did not specify how much of the $36 million was available only for the primary election and how much could be used just in the general election, if she were the party’s nominee.

Still, the total raised outdistanced past presidential election records and set a high bar by which to measure the fundraising abilities of her chief rivals. The Clinton campaign did not announce how much it had spent during those three months and how much cash it still had in hand.

Her closest rival in polls of Democratic voters – Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois – had yet reveal his totals; former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., was expected to release his later Sunday. But New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s campaign said he raised $6 million in primary campaign money and had more than $5 million cash in hand at the end of the three-month period.
The rest of the Democratic field and the Republican presidential candidates planned to announce their first-quarter totals over the next few days. The fundraising deadline for the January through March period was Saturday, with financial reports due April 15.

Republican Phil Gramm of Texas and Democrat Al Gore of Tennessee hold the records for first-quarter receipts: $8.7 million for Gramm in 1995 and $8.9 million for Gore in 1999. Gramm dropped out before New Hampshire held the 1996 election’s first primary.

Republicans are also raising mad amounts of money, led by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. According to The Associated Press:

Republican Mitt Romney reported raising $23 million for his presidential campaign during the first three months of the year, a surprising tally for a relative newcomer and an amount rivaling the total reported a day earlier by Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Meanwhile, the GOP front-runner in the polls, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said his donations totaled $15 million – including more than $10 million during March alone.

Both Republican numbers blew away past party presidential fundraising standards, while Romney’s figure put the former Massachusetts governor in competition with Clinton, the New York senator who on Sunday reported raising $26 million between Jan. 1 and March 31.

The third leading GOP candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had not reported his total by Monday morning.

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Lobbyists haven’t changed their tactics much in spite of the discussion surrounding Amendment 41, as Jeri Clausing of The Denver Post reports:

Voters may have banned gifts and free meals to lawmakers, but one thing Amendment 41 hasn’t changed is good old-fashioned, strong-arm lobbying.

Just ask Rep. Debbie Stafford, R-Aurora, who caused a bit of a mini scandal in the statehouse last week when she complained about the pressure being exerted on her to kill a bill that would make it easier for home owners to sue over construction defects. Exactly how much pressure was exerted and by whom remains unclear, but it certainly emphasizes the tug of war lawmakers deal with all day long.

Just getting on and off the floors of the House and Senate is like walking through a “(expletive) shark tank,” a lawmaker once declared after negotiating the lobby mob.

Every day the crowds gather, huddled around the front doors to the House and Senate, peering through the windows and passing cards to sergeants to summon the lawmakers they want to talk to.

They also crowd the halls outside the committee rooms, cornering their targets as they walk in and out. To be sure, different groups employ different tactics. And the pressure varies depending on the issue.

“Some are still playing by these old tactics and rules and think bullying is a legislative method,” said Jenny Rose Flanagan, executive director of Colorado Common Cause, which helped draft the Amendment 41 ban on gifts to public officials.

“We all have thick skins. There’s no question about that. It’s that kind of environment.”

Two of the traditionally more aggressive interest groups have been out in force recently as the bill targeting homebuilders and another to dilute the oil and gas industry’s voice in drilling regulation move through the chambers.

Legislative rules prohibit lobbyists from threatening lawmakers. But when the representatives of powerful groups with the financial capability to launch advertising campaigns against opposing lawmakers start working the halls, the pressure increases.

In Stafford’s case, she said she was summoned out of committee six times by lobbyists urging her to vote against the bill on homeowner lawsuits. Then, she says, a leader from her own party reminded her that the head of the powerful homeowner lobby could use her vote against her in a future election.

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Lynn Bartels of the Rocky Mountain News profiles Colorado first lady Jeannie Ritter today:

he daughter of a Naval captain, Jeannie Ritter loves to travel. The former flight attendant, Peace Corps volunteer, missionary and teacher now is on the biggest adventure of all: serving as Colorado’s first lady.
“I have this unbelievable job. People thank me. They make a fuss over me,” she said. “People are lovely and gracious and passionate about things. It’s an honor to be able to listen to them.”

As the wife of Gov. Bill Ritter, who took office Jan. 9, she’s constantly asked what’s it like to live in the palatial Governor’s Mansion. The new digs bring rave reviews from Jeannie Ritter, a 50-year-old petite chatterbox who is candid about family problems and the tough side of political life.

Her decision to champion mental health – her sister is bipolar and she taught emotionally disturbed kids – thrilled that often-neglected community.

“My talking about this, I think, has helped remove the stigma around mental health,” Jeannie Ritter said. “I have this great job where I can make a difference.”

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A watchdog group is looking into whether taxi cab companies violated the law in their dealings with lobbying a deregulation bill. According to a press release issued late Friday:

Today, Colorado Citizens for Ethics in Government (CCEG), a non-partisan, non-profit legal watchdog group, sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Coffman asking for an immediate investigation into whether recent actions by the Colorado Cab Company, LLC (doing business as Yellow Cab) violated state lobbying laws. 

Documents obtained by CCEG indicate that officials at Yellow Cab have been encouraging its drivers to call Colorado state legislators and ask them to oppose House Bill 1114, a bill that would deregulate Colorado’s taxi industry.  Yellow Cab officials provided its drivers with a list of legislators and a script to follow that specifically instructed drivers to urge a “no” vote on HB 1114.  In exchange for making the calls, Yellow Cab offered its drivers an adjustment on the lease rate that they pay for use of Yellow Cab taxis.  The adjustment would be worth $50 to $110 to drivers. 

Under Colorado law, any individual who engages himself or is engaged by any other person for pay or for any consideration for lobbying must register as a professional lobbyist with the secretary of state before lobbying.  Any person who violates state lobbying requirements is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be punished by a fine of up to $5000 dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for up to 12 months, or both.

“If these allegations are true, Yellow Cab has brazenly ignored Colorado’s lobbying laws and, even worse, induced its drivers to commit criminal acts,” said Chantell Taylor, CCEG director.  “We hope Secretary Coffman acts swiftly to investigate this matter and takes immediate legal action if violations are indeed found.”

CCEG’s letter and supporting material are available on CCEG’s website, [www.coloradoforethics.org http:// www.coloradoforethics.org].

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A bill that would help fix voting troubles that plagued several Colorado counties was approved on Friday. As April Washington of the Rocky Mountain News reports:

A bill to step up the state’s oversight of vote centers and elections won the Colorado Senate’s initial backing Friday, despite an outcry by Republicans about a provision that gives parolees the right to vote.
“They haven’t paid their debt to society in full,” said Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray. “I don’t think they deserve all of society’s benefits.”

Senate Bill 83, passed on a 19-16 vote, is aimed at preventing the kind of problems that kept more than 20,000 voters in Denver from casting ballots in November.

A software meltdown led to hours-long lines at polling centers.

The measure, by Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder, requires the secretary of state to set up guidelines for vote centers and sign off on all county election plans.

And that’s that for today. Enjoy the last sellout of the season at Coors Field.

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Jason Bane

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