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Democrat Adam Frisch is running TV ads in 3rd Congressional District GOP primaryStrategy an apparent attempt to shape race and give himself a better chance to win in November1200649Grand Junction attorney Jeff Hurd (left), a Republican, and former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch (right), a Democrat. Frisch is running ads in the Republican primary in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District attacking Hurd in an apparent attempt to help one of his opponents win.Democrat Adam Frisch is spending at least $100,000 to air a TV ad in the Republican primary in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District in an apparent attempt to shape the race and give himself a better chance to win in November.The ad attacks Grand Junction attorney Jeff Hurd for “ducking Republican debates” and for refusing to say who he voted for in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, as well as for being the beneficiary of corporate super PAC money.It’s a clear call to GOP primary voters in the Republican-leaning 3rd District to back a different candidate in the six-way race – someone Frisch believes will be easier to beat in November. Someone like former state Rep. Ron Hanks, an election denier who attended Donald Trump’s rally on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C., that preceded the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. 0VideoYouTube480360“As far as I’m concerned, the general election has started,” Adam Frisch’s campaign manager Camilo Vilaseca said in a written statement to The Colorado Sun on Tuesday that highlighted how Hanks has been endorsed by the Colorado GOP and reiterated the attacks on Hurd that are in the TV ad.The strategy is risky.The 3rd District is so favorable to Republicans that it could backfire for Democrats and result in Hanks being elected to Congress as he is seen as Hurd’s top opponent.Frisch lost to Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert by 546 votes in the 3rd District in 2022. But without Boebert in the race this time around – she moved to the 4th Congressional District based on the other side of the state to improve her reelection chances – it’s not clear the former Aspen city councilman can win.Voters in the 3rd District haven’t sent a Democrat to Congress since 2008, and the district’s boundaries have been redrawn twice since then to make it more favorable to Republicans.But Frisch has a major war chest – $3.8 million as of June 5, money he raised from across the country by appealing to Democratic hatred of Boebert – and it may be a better investment to shape the Republican primary now than to have to battle a formidable candidate like Hurd in November. The Frisch ads run through primary Election Day on June 25.The Hurd campaign blasted Frisch’s tactics Tuesday in a written statement.“A shock to no one, Adam and the Democrats are attacking Jeff because they know he is the only Republican who can beat Frisch and keep the seat red,” the Hurd campaign statement said. “Voters in western and southern Colorado won’t be duped.”The Frisch ad also comes as the Democratic super PAC Rocky Mountain Values has already spent about $400,000 on TV and radio spots, as well as mailers and newspaper ads, elevating Hank’s profile in the district and attacking Hurd. The Rocky Mountain Values PAC ads, which were first reported by The Sun, have been on the air since the beginning of the month.1024683Then-U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks speaks during the GOP Assembly at the World Arena on April 9, 2022, in Colorado Springs. (Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun file)Republicans are clearly worried that the Democratic strategy to help Hanks may work.The Congressional Leadership Fund, a group tied to U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, is starting to air TV and radio ads in the 3rd District attacking Hanks for benefiting from the Rocky Mountain Values PAC spending and labeling him as a “liberal” who isn’t loyal enough to Trump. Hanks was one of the most conservative members of the Legislature when he was a state representative and he’s promising to be a top Trump ally in Congress should he win in the 3rd District.The CLF has spent about $325,000 to air its ads, according to the media tracking company AdImpact.0VideoYouTube480360“Why are Democrat mega donors spending so much to prop up Ron Hanks’ campaign? Republicans, beware,” said Courtney Parella, communications director for the CLF.The National Republican Congressional Committee, the U.S. House Republican campaign arm, meanwhile, attacked Frisch for his TV ad campaign.“Adam Frisch’s gutter-politics play reveals one thing: He can’t win unless he plays dirty,” said Delanie Bomar, a regional spokeswoman for the group. “Republicans must stand united to denounce Democrats’ pathetic primary meddling – because Republicans should pick our party’s nominee, not Democrats.” Hurd has been endorsed by a list of big-name Colorado Republicans and has the financial backing of a major national conservative group, Americans For Prosperity Action. He is seen as a leading contender in the crowded primary.Carbondale investor Russ Andrews, another Republican primary candidate in the 3rd District, is also airing a TV ad attacking Hurd, calling him an “Ivy League lawyer” who’s disloyal to Trump. Andrews has spent at least $70,000 to air the ads.Colorado Sun staff writer Sandra Fish contributed to this report.The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported, nonpartisan news organization dedicated to covering Colorado issues. To learn more, go to coloradosun.com.
Strategy an apparent attempt to shape race and give himself a better chance to win in November
36002400Snoop Donk is one of the Burro Fest 2024 burro ambassadors. Ilana Newman/Special to The JournalPhotos: 2024 Burro Fest puts local arts, music and food on displayOn Saturday, more than 1,000 people head to Mancos for burrosFor the town of Mancos and its businesses, it’s the biggest day of the year, said Stephanie Hallum, event coordinator for Mancos Creative District, in an interview with The Journal.This year’s Burro Fest featured 10 animal artists, a Makers Market with 20 additional local artists and makers, live bands, a kids area, a silent auction and food trucks.Photo gallery by Ilana Newman, for The JournalSnoop Donk is one of the Burro Fest 2024 burro ambassadors. Ilana Newman/Special to The Journal24003296Snoop Donk is one of the Burro Fest 2024 burro ambassadors. Ilana Newman/Special to The Journal24003600Hamilton, a previous Burro Fest champion, crosses through the Olympic Ring finish line during the obstacle course competition at Burro Fest 2024. Ilana Newman/Special to The Journal24003600A Burro Fest attendee looks through donkey art at one of the artist stalls at Burro Fest 2024. Ilana Newman/Special to The Journal24003482A painting by artist Shawn Ahkea of Siggi, the champion of Burro Fest 2024. Ilana Newman/Special to The Journal24003600Alice, wearing a yellow polka-dot bikini, refuses to cross the finish line during the obstacle course competition during Burro Fest 2024. Ilana Newman/Special to The Journal4000569824003600Dai Salwen poses behind burro art that Salwen created at Burro Fest 2024. Ilana Newman/Special to The Journal24003600Some of the Burro Fest 2024 organizers, from left to right, Chelsea Lunders, TJ Zark, and Stephanie Hallum. Ilana Newman/Special to The Journal22402750Sarah Drummond stands in front of her booth with the watercolor painting of her partner burro Coco hanging front and center. Ilana Newman/Special to The Journal24003429Alice, wearing a yellow polka-dot bikini, refuses to cross the finish line during the obstacle course competition during Burro Fest 2024. Ilana Newman/Special to The Journal24003600Handler Suzanne Velasquez with Siggi, the champion of Burro Fest 2024, and Harley, two burros from Forever Home Donkey Rescue in Benson, Arizona. Ilana Newman/Special to The Journal24003600
On Saturday, more than 1,000 people head to Mancos for burros
20102060Colton Clemens competes in bareback riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)An exciting end to the Ute Mountain RoundupOver half of Ute Mountain Roundup’s first-place performances came on night threeSaturday was a barnburner for the Ute Mountain Roundup.The last night of Cortez’s annual PRCA rodeo sold out every seat, and fans were not disappointed.The third night was the charm for the bull riders, who finally posted qualifying rides.Scotty Knapp took home the big check after an 83.5-point ride.However, Josh Frost, the four time Linderman Award winner and three time Reserve World Champion bull rider, walked away with the audience’s support, who loudly booed the judge’s 78.5 score for his ride on Powder River Rodeo’s “Rez Dawg.” Frost’s brother, Jate Frost, took second with an 80.5-point ride.60004000Rodeo entertainer Matt Merritt has fun with the sold-out crowd during Saturday's Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo performance. (Madelaine Gaskey/Special to The Journal)Keenan Hayes, who stunned the rodeo world last season by becoming the first-ever person to win Rookie of the Year and the World Championship in the same year, visited the UMR just long enough to win the bareback competition. Hayes tied the arena record with his 85-point ride.The ladies of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association tallied first-place performances in barrel racing and breakaway roping posted on night three. Maddy Deerman of Hope, New Mexico, won the breakaway roping title with a time of just 2.4 seconds, and Doskie Edwards swept to the top of the barrel racing event in 17.35 seconds.0VideoYouTube4803600VideoYouTube480360Jake Hannum won the tie-down roping event with a time of 8.7 seconds. In a total of five out of eight events, the first-place performance happened on Saturday night, marking an exciting end to the three-day UMR.In all the excitement, the crowd also saw a few warmhearted moments.The UMR celebrated Military Appreciation night by recognizing HD Randolph, Jerry Huskey and Gerald Goodall for their service. The crowd also welcomed 82nd Airborne veteran and skydiver Mike Semanoff, who made his third and final descent into the arena carrying the American flag.Rodeo clown Matt Merritt was tasked with choosing a “fan of the night” for each night of the UMR.On Night 1, he chose a couple who had been married for 62 years. On Night 2, it was a Vietnam veteran in the front row. On Night 3, it was a pair of 91-year-old twins who had attended every UMR Rodeo since 1953.Merritt had the audience believe that the award and accompanying gift card is given to the loudest, rowdiest person in the arena. However, being unable to give the award to himself, Merritt seemingly chose the winner based on merit.30001821Maddy Deerman of N ew Mexico competes in breakaway roping during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)30001850Skydiver, Mike Semanoff, who was a Paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne lands in the arena during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)30002000The crowd responds to the action at the Ute Mountain Roundup. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)
Over half of Ute Mountain Roundup’s first-place performances came on night three
Photos: It’s rodeo timeUte Mountain Roundup Rodeo electrifies the crowd on SaturdayJessica Blair-Fowlkes rodeo performer with her roman riding act during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)19791500Jessica Blair-Fowlkes rodeo performer with her roman riding act during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)19431500Matt Merritt, Rodeo Entertainer, gives an audience member a dancing lesson during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)18743000Kory Bramwell and Calvin Brevik compete in team roping on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)11183000The Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)21191500Fans have fun during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)21333000Fans have fun during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)20003000Fans have fun during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)13402010The Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)20003000Announcer Jody Carper during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)13402010Macy Davenport competes in breakaway roping during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)18103000Kory Bramwell competes in bareback riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)23603000Mutton busting is a fun event to watch on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)15033000Hollis Jodie competes in the steer wrestling riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)19933000Mutton busting is a fun event to watch on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)22173000Colton Clemens competes in bareback riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)20602010Colton Clemens competes in bareback riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)21733000Tyler Beebe competes in Saddle bronc riding during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)24282010Saddle bronc riding during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)19663000Tyler Beebe competes in Saddle bronc riding during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)19643000Kolt Ferguson competes in saddle bronc riding during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)17181500Stran Neilson competes in saddle bronc riding during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)21761500Jordan Iker competes in saddle bronc riding during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)26591500Hayden Horrocks competes in saddle bronc riding during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)21041500Cora Brunori competes in breakaway roping during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)18683000Maddy Deerman competes in breakaway roping during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)18213000Mckenzie Watkins competes in breakaway roping during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)18283000Josh Frost competes in tie-down roping during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)22833000Fans have fun during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)18283000Grady Kirks competes in tie-down roping during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)24333000Grady Kirks competes in tie-down roping during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)20123000The crowd watches saddle bronc riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)20003000Kristin Brashears competes in barrel racing during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)20973000Anne Miller competes in barrel racing during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)20571500Jonny Perez competes in bull riding during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)13733000Dave Chidgey competes in bull riding during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)17662010Anne Miller competes in barrel racing during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)23393000Scottie Knapp competes in bull riding during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)18631500The Carnival on Saturday night next to the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)12772010Hate Frost competes in bull riding during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)11432010Macy Davenport competes in barrel racing during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)15451500Colton Clemens competes in bareback riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)22301417Kory Bramwell competes in bareback riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)22821500Michael Bates competes in the steer wrestling riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)24163000Mutton busting is a fun event to watch on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)20233000Mutton busting is a fun event to watch on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)13073000Mutton busting is a fun event to watch on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)18653000Kory Bramwell and Calvin Brevik compete in team roping on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)17923000Bareback champion rider Keenan Hayes gets ready to compete in bareback riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)19333000Mutton busting is a fun event to watch on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)21073000Mutton busting is a fun event to watch on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)21933000Mutton busting is a fun event to watch on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)21173000Brady Love competes in Saddle bronc riding during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)21743000Jade Taton competes in saddle bronc riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)20003000Jade Taton competes in saddle bronc riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)24873000Bareback champion rider Keenan Hayes gets ready before competing in the bareback riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)21783000Bareback champion rider Keenan Hayes competes in the bareback riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)20871500Bareback champion rider Keenan Hayes gets ready before competing in the bareback riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)23293000Josh Frost competes in the bull riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)21763000Bareback champion rider Keenan Hayes competes in the bareback riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)18181500Bareback champion rider Keenan Hayes gets ready before competing in the bareback riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)20683000Bareback champion rider Keenan Hayes competes in the bareback riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)23171500Bareback champion rider Keenan Hayes competes in the bareback riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)22953000Skydiver, Mike Semanoff, who was a Paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne lands in the arena during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)11363000Skydiver, Mike Semanoff, who was a Paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne lands in the arena during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)18503000Country music recording artist from Cortez, Megan Shelton, sings the national anthem on Saturday at the start of the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)18873000Skydiver, Mike Semanoff, who was a Paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne lands in the arena during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo on Saturday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)2374201030001993Hollis Jodie competes in the steer wrestling riding on Saturday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)
Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo electrifies the crowd on Saturday
Video: Montezuma-County rodeo star Amber Moore puts on showMoore, a Lewis, Colorado native and 2015 champion, took center stage in the Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo's barrel racing event on Friday0VideoYouTube48036040006000Montezuma County barrel racer Amber Moore, seen here on Friday, has made the Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo into a regular fixture in her summer plans. She won the event in 2015. (Courtesy of Madelaine Gaskey)
Moore, a Lewis, Colorado native and 2015 champion, took center stage in the Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo's barrel racing event on Friday
Video: Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo competitors take center stageRiders hail from Northwest New Mexico, Northeast Arizona and Southwest Colorado0VideoYouTube4803600VideoYouTube4803600VideoYouTube4803600VideoYouTube48036026883600The bronco looks back at Bailey Benchs while trying to buck him off during the Friday night Ute Mountain Roundup. (Sam Green/Special to the Journal)
Riders hail from Northwest New Mexico, Northeast Arizona and Southwest Colorado
If voters adopt ranked choice voting, Colorado may prevent it from taking effectLast-minute provisions added to an elections bill would create a major barrier1200800Voters cast their ballots at Augustana Lutheran Church on Nov. 8 in Denver. (Olivia Sun/The Colorado Sun via Report for America, file)If Colorado voters decide in November to pass a ballot measure making big changes to the way the state’s elections are conducted, it may be years before they go into effect – if ever.That’s because of a last-minute amendment added to a broad bipartisan election bill awaiting Gov. Jared Polis’ signature. The provisions would create a major barrier to a proposal to alter Colorado’s primaries so candidates of all parties run against each other, with the top four vote-getters advancing to a ranked choice general election.Now, proponents of the election overhaul, who were unaware of the big hurdles created by Senate Bill 210 until they were contacted this week by The Colorado Sun, are demanding that Polis veto the legislation. County clerks and opponents of the voting changes are demanding that he sign it.Amid the growing pressure campaign, the governor won’t say whether he will sign or veto the measure, which would require ranked-choice voting to be tested in 12 municipalities before it could be used statewide. He has until June 7 to decide.“The governor is reviewing the final version of the bill,” said Shelby Wieman, a spokesperson for Polis.The future of Colorado’s voting process hangs in the balance. So does the rest of what’s in Senate Bill 230, which election officials say is necessary to safeguard state election workers.1200800Kent Thiry, former CEO of the dialysis giant DaVita, has given at least $5.9 million to Colorado ballot measures since 2011, according to a Kaiser Health News review of Colorado campaign finance data. (Rachel Woolf for KHN)Colorado Voters First, the group pushing for the election system changes, is spearheaded by Kent Thiry, the wealthy former CEO of the Denver-based dialysis giant DaVita. For years he has used his deep pockets to fund ballot initiatives, including ones aimed at tamping down on partisanship by letting unaffiliated voters cast ballots in partisan primaries and taking redistricting out of the hands of the Legislature. Colorado Voters First intends to place a measure on the November ballot asking voters to change how Colorado’s primaries are conducted and adopt ranked choice general elections, similar to what’s used in Alaska. The changes would go into effect in 2026. The overhaul would diminish the power of the two major political parties, which are chafing at the changes.In ranked choice voting elections, voters rank candidates in order of preference. If a candidate wins more than 50% of the first-preference votes, they are declared the winner. If no candidate reaches that threshold, candidates with the fewest first-preference supporters are eliminated. The process continues until one candidate exceeds 50% of the total vote. 0VideoYouTube480360County clerks across the state have warned that they are unprepared for the overhaul and expressed anxiety about how the ballot measure could affect their ability to follow other state and federal election laws. They worked on the amendment in Senate Bill 210 delaying implementation of open primary system and ranked choice general elections alongside a group called Coloradans for Accurate and Secure Elections, a consortium of mainly progressive organizations opposed to the Colorado Voters First proposal.The provisions would require a dozen Colorado municipalities in counties of a certain size and with a specific demographic makeup to conduct ranked choice elections before a ranked choice election could be used in a race for state or federal office. Additionally, Colorado could not move to the new primary system proposed by Colorado Voters First until that requirement has been met.60004000The House of Representatives chamber in the State Capitol on Jan. 24 in Denver. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press file)Finally, the amendment would require the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office to produce a report on how ranked choice voting went in the municipalities and present its findings to the Legislature.Only a handful of cities and towns in Colorado – including Boulder, Fort Collins and Telluride – currently use ranked choice voting in their municipal elections. Voter approval would be required before the change is adopted in some communities. That means it would likely be 2028 or 2030 at the earliest before the new primary system and ranked choice voting could be used in state and federal elections.The clauses were added in a two-page amendment to Senate Bill 210 adopted on the Sunday before the end of the state’s legislative session on May 8. There was no debate on the amendment, which was offered on the Colorado House floor by state Rep. Emily Sirota, a Denver Democrat and one of the bill’s main sponsors.“This amendment was worked out with several of our (county) clerks to ensure that as new voting methods are implemented in different types of elections we have a good amount of data to analyze to ensure we’re not undermining Coloradans’ confidence in our elections and that voters understand their ballots,” Sirota said on the House floor.The amendment was introduced, explained and passed within a minute.“These last-minute antics are what voters hate about politics,” said Amber McReynolds, an elections expert who is part of Colorado’s Voters First. “Communities across Colorado have already approved and used ranked choice voting in elections, and our fantastic clerks have systems in place to run and audit those contests. Using ranking systems simply gives voters more choice, and does not substantively change the way votes are processed.”She said the way the amendment was adopted – with no chance for public input during a legislative committee – “begs for a veto.”Curtis Hubbard, a spokesman for Colorado Voters First, went so far as to allege that the amendment was akin to Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. 25601706Voters enter Augustana Lutheran Church to cast their ballots Nov. 8, 2022, in Denver. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun via Report for America, file)“Anyone who was – rightly – outraged by Trump’s efforts to overturn an election after the fact should be disgusted with this front-loaded attempt to undermine the will of the voters,” he said.Matt Crane, who leads the nonpartisan Colorado County Clerks Association, said his organization worked on and supported the amendment. He said it’s smart policy for ranked choice voting to be tested on the municipal level before it’s adopted statewide. (Only Alaska and Maine conduct all statewide elections using ranked choice voting.)“Anytime that you are going to make a seismic change to an election model, it’s a bad idea to do it without understanding all the impacts of it,” he said. “We just aren’t there with rank choice voting. Will it create broader voter confusion? Does it have a suppressing effect on people of color and the seniors?”He added: “We like to be on the cutting edge. We just don’t want to be on the bleeding edge.”Crane said if support for ranked choice voting is as broad as its supporters say it is, it shouldn’t be difficult to get the system adopted in towns and cities across Colorado. He added that because Senate Bill 210 would make a change to state law, the Legislature could come back next year and strip out the statutory hurdles should voters overwhelmingly back the ballot measure on open primaries and ranked choice voting.“As clerks, we don’t care about who wins,” Crane said. “We just care about who’s participating. Ranked choice, this movement is designed to change who wins.”Crane said if the governor were to veto Senate Bill 210, which is 42 pages long, a laundry list of other provisions meant to improve the state’s election system would be collateral damage, including clauses protecting local elections officials from conspiracy theorists, improving safety for presidential electors and shielding county clerks from nuisance public records requests.“It’s a critically important elections bill in an election year,” Sirota, one of the bill’s main sponsors, said in an interview Thursday. She rejected the idea that the way the amendment was passed was inappropriate. She said the bill arrived in the House late in the session, crossing over to the chamber from the Senate on May 1 after it was first introduced April 17.And, she said, the ranked choice voting provision is “a totally fair way to ensure if the voters pass a ballot measure that it is rolled out in a methodical way.” Sirota said the provision would force the rollout of ranked choice voting to be akin to how Colorado adopted its universal mail ballot system.“I’m getting pretty tired of the uber-wealthy among us just throwing their money around and the impact on Colorado’s public be damned,” she said, referring to Thiry.The Legislature has passed other bills in recent years aimed at affecting ballot measures.In 2021, lawmakers passed a bipartisan measure kneecapping a ballot measure seeking to cut property taxes. This year, the Legislature approved a bill aiming to neuter the effects of a possible November ballot measure requiring voter approval for new government fees.Colorado Voters First still has a ways to go before it gets a measure on the November ballot. It must collect about 125,000 voter signatures by Aug. 5 to qualify. The group also hasn’t settled yet on which measure to pursue as two of its proposals are being reviewed by the Colorado Supreme Court.But because of Thiry’s deep pockets, it’s widely assumed that it will land a measure on the November ballot.The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported, nonpartisan news organization dedicated to covering Colorado issues. To learn more, go to coloradosun.com.
Last-minute provisions added to an elections bill would create a major barrier
36002400The San Juan Rotary Club hosts the Farmington Healing Field here for the 15th year during the Memorial Day weekend. Fifty United States flags will fly in the grassy field at the Farmington Boys and Girls Club Friday through Monday.Brad Ryan/Special to Tri-City RecordPhoto gallery: Farmington hosts Healing Field for Memorial DayMore than 100 people braved the hot sun to pay their respects to San Juan County veterans and first responders, who lost their lives in the line of duty. As they sat atop the bleachers, 528 American flags fluttered in the wind, and the tingle of dog tags could be heard as the names of those lost were shared.The San Juan Rotary Club hosts the Farmington Healing Field here for the 15th year during the Memorial Day weekend. Fifty United States flags will fly in the grassy field at the Farmington Boys and Girls Club Friday through Monday.Brad Ryan/Special to Tri-City Record24603600The San Juan Rotary Club hosts the Farmington Healing Field here for the 15th year during the Memorial Day weekend. Fifty United States flags will fly in the grassy field at the Farmington Boys and Girls Club Friday through Monday.Brad Ryan/Special to Tri-City Record24003600The San Juan Rotary Club hosts the Farmington Healing Field here for the 15th year during the Memorial Day weekend. Fifty United States flags will fly in the grassy field at the Farmington Boys and Girls Club Friday through Monday.Brad Ryan/Special to Tri-City Record42382700The San Juan Rotary Club hosts the Farmington Healing Field here for the 15th year during the Memorial Day weekend. Fifty United States flags will fly in the grassy field at the Farmington Boys and Girls Club Friday through Monday.Brad Ryan/Special to Tri-City Record24343600The San Juan Rotary Club hosts the Farmington Healing Field here for the 15th year during the Memorial Day weekend. Fifty United States flags will fly in the grassy field at the Farmington Boys and Girls Club Friday through Monday.Brad Ryan/Special to Tri-City Record23773600A child walks amid the flags installed at the Farmington Boys and Girls Club, 1925 Positive Way.Brad Ryan/Special to Tri-City Record29854177
More than 100 people braved the hot sun to pay their respects to San Juan County veterans and first ...
31352201Graduating seniors interact during the commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)Photo gallery: Montezuma-Cortez commencementOn Thursday, the Montezuma-Cortez school district bid farewell to the Class of 2024Graduating seniors interact during the commencement ceremony on Thursday. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)22013135Montezuma-Cortez High School Principal Jennifer Boniface announces the graduating class of 2024. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)23953600Darwin Whiteman Jr. leads the Class of 2024 in prayer. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)40246048Selwyn Whiteskunk of the Ute Mountain Tribal Council speaks to the Class of 2024. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)39125119Student-selected speaker Toni Broughton speaks to the Class of 2024. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)24823600Class valedictorian Easton Hartsoe gives his address. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)25623600Class salutatorian Anna Jensen gives her address. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)25793600Students’ personalized graduation caps. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)14661940Panther Stadium on Thursday night for the commencement of the Class of 2024. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)23953600Class salutatorian Anna Jensen gives her address. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)25133600Panther Stadium on Thursday night for the commencement of the Class of 2024. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)25953900Panther Stadium on Thursday night for the commencement of the Class of 2024. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)24483600Graduating seniors interact during the commencement ceremony on Thursday. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)24553600Graduates turn and wave to their families at the end of the ceremony. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)23953600Graduates toss their caps into the air at the end of the commencement ceremony. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)27944200Students’ personalized graduation caps. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)26943613Students’ personalized graduation caps. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)25443600Students’ personalized graduation caps. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)22353300Students’ personalized graduation caps. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)23953600Students’ personalized graduation caps. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)28583180Students’ personalized graduation caps. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)19853300
On Thursday, the Montezuma-Cortez school district bid farewell to the Class of 2024
30001883At the urging of the keynote speaker, Dolores graduates put on red noses to remind them not to take life too seriously.Sam Green/Special to The JournalPhoto gallery: Dolores High School commencementLasting roughly 75 minutes from start to applause-heavy finish, commencement concluded DHS’ 2023-24 school year and began with senior Layne Hedgren singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”Superintendent Dr. Reece Blincoe then welcomed all in attendance and spoke first to the soon-to-be graduates.At the urging of the keynote speaker, Dolores graduates put on red noses to remind them not to take life too seriously.Sam Green/Special to The Journal18833000Dylan Koskie is congratulated as he marches in for the Dolores High School graduation Thursday evening.Sam Green/Special to The Journal23703000Valedictorian Analisa Vega speaks at the Dolores High School graduation Thursday evening.Sam Green/Special to The Journal30002286Class president Kayla Tallmadge gives her speech air the Dolores High School graduation Thursday evening.Sam Green/Special to The Journal30002190Salutatorian Brooklyn Lee gives her speech for the Dolores High School graduation Thursday evening.Sam Green/Special to The Journal30002256Layne Hedgren sings the national anthem for the Dolores High School graduation Thursday evening.Sam Green/Special to The Journal24003000Keynote speaker Mrs. Karen Finch addresses the Dolores High School graduates Thursday evening.Sam Green/Special to The Journal26682400A standing room only crowds filled the gym for the Dolores High School graduation Thursday evening.Sam Green/Special to The Journal15753000Dolores graduates toss their hats in the air as the end of the graduation Thursday evening.Sam Green/Special to The Journal30002575
Lasting roughly 75 minutes from start to applause-heavy finish, commencement concluded DHS’ 2023-24 ...