Welcome back to another exciting episode of the Get More Smarter Podcast! In this jam-packed episode, we dive into the latest political developments in Colorado, from Ken Buck's surprise announcement to the ongoing troubles facing our 8th favorite Member of Congress from Colorado. But first, we have a special guest joining us: Marshall Zelinger, Politics Guy for 9News. Tune in as we discuss the mosh pit of candidates looking to replace Ken Buck, and more!
KenSNBC Going to MSNBC | CNN Ken going to the Cable News Network:
Ken Buck's announcement not to seek reelection in 2024 has shaken up Colorado politics. We explore:
Marshall's initial reaction to Buck's announcement.
Ken Buck's political “legacy?”
Marshall’s conversations with potential candidates and their expectations.
The significance of Buck's decision and its impact on the Republican Party.
Listen to this interview, we conducted it while Marshall was in the middle of an oil change, a true media professional.
The Upcoming CD4 Race:
We delve into the crowded field of candidates seeking to replace Ken Buck in Colorado's 4th Congressional District. With the field rapidly expanding, we discuss:
The historical context of this race and comparisons to past primaries.
The likely battle for the most conservative district in Colorado.
The role of local and state Republican parties in the primary.
Predictions for the number of Republican candidates.
The list of potential Republican candidates is so long that it is easier to start with the people who have already publicly announced that they are not going to run in 2024.
♦ Barbara Kirkmeyer
The State Senator lost narrowly to Democrat Yadira Caraveo in CO-08 but says she isn’t interested in another congressional run in 2024.
Two Republicans had already filed paperwork to run in 2024: Justin Schreiber and Trent Leisy. The only thing we know about either of these candidates is that Leisy wears a ridiculous “MAGA KING” hat along with his suit and tie. Both Schreiber and Leisy are relatively-unknown candidates with no obvious built-in base of support; it’s unlikely that the eventual Republican nominee will be one of these two people.
On the Democratic side, there are two candidates: John Padora and Ike McCorkle, the latter of whom is running in CO-04 for the third consecutive cycle.
♦ Deborah Flora made it official on Thursday, Nov. 2.
Obviously not all of the people on this list will end up running in 2024, though most of them will at least poke around a bit first. We took a brief run through this potential list back in September, but we need a more expansive look now. Take a deep breath…
As we noted six weeks ago, we are aware of at least four people who have already had preliminary discussions with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC): Heidi Ganahl, Deborah Flora, Lora Thomas, and George Brauchler.
♦ Heidi Ganahl
Ganahl was the 2022 Republican nominee for Governor, losing to incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis by 20 points and earning the title of “Worst Candidate/Campaign in Modern Colorado History.“ As crazy as Ganahl sounded by the end of the 2022 campaign, her many (many) public comments since indicate that she was actually holding back quite a bit. Ganahl could likely self-fund a Primary campaign and may be sufficiently ridiculous enough for the MAGA base.
♦ Deborah Flora
Flora is a right-wing radio host who ran for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2022 but was so incompetent that she couldn’t even get her name on the June Primary ballot. But like Ganahl, Flora is nutty enough to be interesting to the Primary electorate. Flora is doing the old “lots of people are encouraging me” routine, which means she’s probably going to run. [SEE ABOVE: She’s in]
♦ Lora Thomas
A longtime fixture in Douglas County GOP circles, Thomas is finishing her final term as a DougCo Commissioner. She regularly draws the ire of anyone unlucky enough to talk with her, but she might have enough of a base to be successful depending on the total number of candidates. Thomas all but acknowledged to Zelinger that she would run in 2024.
♦ George Brauchler
The right-wing radio host pretended to be surprised by all of this in a conversation with Zelinger, but he badly wants to be elected to something. A former district attorney, Brauchler tried to move up the political totem pole in 2018 before being driven away to the bowels of right-wing talk radio. Brauchler first tried to gain traction as a Republican candidate for Governor in 2017 but quickly found that nobody else was interested in the idea. He then switched to the race for Attorney General, where he lost to Democrat Phil Weiser by six points. Brauchler wouldn’t have to worry about a Democrat in 2024, but his waffling about supporting Donald Trump will make him less appetizing for a Primary electorate.
♦ Richard Holtorf
The State Representative from Akron has been talking openly about his “exploratory committee” in CO-04, which is not a real thing but which he nevertheless insists to be formal. He’s running.
♦ Jerry Sonnenberg
As we wrote in September, the former State Senator is believed to be a favorite of the NRCC. Sonneberg told Zelinger that he is considering a run, and we’d bet that he makes it official soon.
♦ Kristi Burton Brown
Brown was the Chair of the Colorado Republican Party in 2022 when the GOP suffered perhaps its worst election cycle in generations, so OBVIOUSLY she would be a good candidate. Her name has been floated by current GOP Chair Dave Williams, and she has been publicly coy about a potential campaign.
♦ Abe Laydon
Douglas County Commissioner is also playing the “aw, shucks, I’m glad so many people want me to run” routine, but the sad truth is that CO-04 Primary voters aren’t going to elect a non-straight man in 2024.
♦ Pat Neville
The former State House Minority Leader has been signaling lately about his interest in CO-04 by attacking Buck via social media. His brother, Joe Neville, could take a shot instead.
♦ Gino Campana
Another failed 2022 Republican Senate candidate is considering a run, according to Ernest Luning.
The Boebert Report:
Lauren Boebert's troubles continue to make headlines. We explore:
The growing narrative surrounding Boebert's performance in Congress (it’s bad and she’s bad).
The #Beetlebert scandal and its impact on Republican support.
Conspiracy theories and the desperate defense of Boebert.
Is it Time to Ban Body Armor?:
Recent incidents, including one in Glenwood Springs, have reignited the debate over body armor. We discuss:
The statistics linking mass shooters to body armor.
Arguments for and against the regulation of body armor.
Colorado's potential move to address this issue in the next legislative session.
Colorado Will Fully Fund Education, Really:
A significant development in Colorado's budget has emerged. We explore:
The history of Colorado's budgetary challenges and the "IOU" for education funding.
Governor Polis's 2024 budget proposal to fully fund education.
The significance of fully funding K-12 education for the first time in 14 years.
That wraps up another wild episode of the Get More Smarter Podcast. Stay tuned for more updates, political analysis, and interviews. Don't forget to follow us on social media and subscribe to the podcast for all the latest news and insights. Thanks for joining us, and we’ll see you next time.