Ernest Luning

Legislative races come into focus this month

May edition of Colorado’s Top 12 races
The Colorado Statesman

With just two weeks before ballots go into the mail for the June primary election, the state’s top primary races and the battle for control of the General Assembly is coming into sharp focus.

On the heels of a special session marked by partisan bickering — heralded by the demise of a divisive civil unions bill — that could cast a shadow over an otherwise remarkably cooperative legislative session, Democrats and Republicans alike can make a concrete case to voters that control of the legislative chambers makes a big difference.

Statehouse Dems geared up to take back majority

Former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff inspires local Dems
The Colorado Statesman

Democrats hoping to retake the majority in the Colorado House of Representatives are also hoping that last week’s special session — and the last-minute floundering over a civil unions bill that led the governor call the legislature back — motivates out more voters like Joanne Bryant and Cheryl Bousquet.

The Sheridan couple has sat on the sidelines when it comes to politics, but after following the civil unions bill through committees and watching it die during the late-night demise of dozens of bills at the hands of GOP leadership, Bryant said enough is enough.

Political insider offers insight on presidential race

GOP Khachigian offers tales from the campaign trail
The Colorado Statesman

Even though he’s had an insider’s view of nine presidential campaigns, the man who wrote President Reagan’s inaugural address admits that he would be foolish to predict what will happen as this year’s race unfolds.

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” an affable Ken Khachigian told a crowd of Republican donors at a fundraiser in Denver last Friday. “The reason that there’s no crystal ball is, we’ve got almost six months to go in this election. Especially in this new cable news, 24-7 talk radio cycle, things move very, very quickly.”

Civil unions bill dies

State Affairs “kill” committee delivers predicted death knell
The Colorado Statesman

A resurrected bill to legalize civil unions in Colorado survived only a matter of hours as the House panel known as the chamber’s “kill committee” lived up to its nickname on the first day of the legislature’s special session this week.

Perlmutter officially launches bid for reelection

Apple pie and other goodies, but no Coors beer
The Colorado Statesman

The only thing missing was a round of fireworks. It was an all-American bash — complete with an apple pie, politicians’ speeches and a rosy-cheeked barbershop quartet singing patriotic tunes — as U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Golden Democrat, formally launched his bid for a fourth term in Congress last Saturday afternoon at his campaign’s new field offices in Wheat Ridge.

What we missed in Hummers this year…

The Colorado Statesman

In her Capitol office on Monday, Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, displays props and costumes that would have been part of the Colorado House’s traditional “Hummers” show this year if the relationship between majority Republicans and minority Democrats hadn’t turned sour in the waning days of the session.

Civil unions bill dealt bad hand

High stakes legislative gamble yields no vote in full house; special session a whole new game
The Colorado Statesman

Backers of legalized civil unions for same-sex couples in Colorado will have another bite at the apple after Gov. John Hickenlooper this week ordered lawmakers to hold a special session to consider proposals that died when House Republican leaders and the bill’s supporters engaged in a standoff over whether to bring the measure to a vote.

President, political figures, family and friends reflect on life of Paul Sandoval

Beloved North Denver figure laid to rest
The Colorado Statesman

Even President Barack Obama remembers a story about Paul Sandoval, the former state senator and North Denver kingmaker who was laid to rest on Saturday.

“I recall that when Paul visited the White House, he asked to be identified as a tamale maker,” wrote Obama in a letter to Sandoval’s widow, former Denver Councilwoman and state Sen. Paula Sandoval, read aloud during his funeral by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

A toast to Denver’s HD 8 Democrats

The Colorado Statesman

When Northeast Denver Democrats get together for their annual House District 8 spaghetti dinner, there’s always a toast. Or two.

This year, more than 100 party activists and elected officials raised their glasses to celebrate the district’s heritage as a liberal stronghold — powerful enough to sway state elections, some say — and to remember missing friends and neighbors at a fundraiser on April 21 at Loyola Catholic Church on the west side of City Park.

Legislative races of 2012: April edition

The Colorado Statesman

This time around, the cardinal number is six: It’s just six weeks until ballots drop for June’s all-mail primary election, and six months from now Coloradans will already be voting in what promises to be one of the most hard-fought general elections in memory.

While Colorado’s role as a crucial battleground in the presidential contest — some say it’s the key swing state — will surely suck up most of the oxygen this year, dozens of races in every corner of the state will vie for attention as voters select a new legislature.