Short Take: Littwin on Baumgardner — should he stay or should he go?

Transportation Committee Chair Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, after the vote on Tuesday.

As far as I can tell, there are two scenarios for the Randy Baumgardner saga. Either Friday is the deadline for Baumgardner to resign from the state Senate. Or it isn’t.

If that seems to confusing to you, it does to #MeToo. You can blame the confusion, and much else, on Senate President Kevin Grantham, whose reaction to investigations of three Republican senators on various charges of sexual harassment is to call the investigators biased and, basically, incompetent.

He didn’t stop there, of course. He took the findings and then did…nothing. Because in Grantham’s view, apparently due process is due process only when the process comes up with the duly desired result. And, in any case, to be entirely accurate, Grantham didn’t do nothing. He also, in a most unbiased manner, slammed a Democratic senator whose case is still under review.

So, Grantham, with his one-vote majority in the state Senate, is in a little trouble. Which is why, according to what former Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman told, Grantham agreed to a deal in which Baumgardner would resign by March 30 if the Democrats agreed not to pursue expulsion resolutions against the two other accused Republican senators, Larry Crowder and Jack Tate.

Was there a deal or not? The legislature is not even in session on Friday, which is Good Friday, although not necessarily for Grantham.

Grantham says that to say there’s a deal is “overstated.” If I were Baumgardner (and I’m not, despite the mustache confusion), I wouldn’t be comforted by that description. Democrats are daily calling for a vote to expel him. And the investigator found it was “more likely than not” that he had repeatedly slapped and grabbed a legislative aide’s buttocks.

Here’s what Grantham told Colorado Politics: “I’ve been talking with many folks – Lucia – and the senator (Baumgardner) – about the possibility. To say there is a hard and fast deal is overstated. Ultimately, regardless of what titles are, I can’t force someone to resign. That person has to make those decisions for themselves.”

Guzman, meanwhile, told the Indy’s John Herrick, that it was more of an “understanding” than a “deal,” which, I’ll confess, doesn’t make it any more understandable to me.

For his part, Baumgardner told Herrick Thursday, “I know nothing about this,” which means, if nothing else, he doesn’t read the papers.

As you might remember, Guzman quit her job as minority leader (she’s now assistant leader) because she said she couldn’t work with Republican leadership (read: Grantham, Kevin). She was upset when Grantham publicly called out Democratic Sen. Daniel Kagan, who has been accused of walking into an unmarked Senate restroom for women. Kagan has said it happened once, when he was new to the legislature, and that it was an accident. Without bias, Grantham has determined that Kagan was in that bathroom “habitually.”

We actually don’t know exactly what Kagan is accused of doing. Some Democrats are convinced this is a move by Grantham to distract from his, well, incompetent handling of the Baumgardner matter. Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik filed the report, and if we’re to follow in the spirit of the #MeToo movement, she should be heard and believed — unless there’s some very good reason not to believe her.

Humenik, who is defending her seat this November against Rep. Faith Winter of #MeToo fame, has been very vague in her public remarks about what Kagan might have done — if he did anything — beyond walking into an unmarked restroom.

That still leaves us with Baumgardner. Will he quit? If he doesn’t, will Grantham allow an expulsion resolution to come to the floor? If Grantham doesn’t, will Democrats effectively keep the spotlight on this issue until the end of time, or at least until the end of the session?

As I might have mentioned before, we know #MeToo isn’t going away. By Friday, we may know whether Baumgardner is.

Photo of Sen. Randy Baumgardner by John Herrick