Gossip, 2/12/10

STEALTH DEMOCRAT DOGS COLORADO REPUBLICANS

Meet Jesse Willis, the Colorado Democratic Party’s mysterious “tracker” who has filmed Republican candidates at events around the state — from a GOP gubernatorial campaign event in Denver in July to the Teller Tea Party’s U.S. Senate candidates’ forum in Woodland Park last weekend. (His mug is in this week’s issue on page 25.)

His “gotcha GOP” film clips are reportedly promoted by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and ProgressNow Colorado.

Willis is clean cut, attractive and mild mannered. Armed with his tripod and video camera, the “tracker” can be perceived as intimidating. The sight of Willis threw one state GOP staffer into a tizzy at a dinner on the eve of the party’s Central Committee meeting at Keystone in September.

Being the state Democratic Party’s “tracker” is a hit-and-miss job.

Willis was banned from the Jefferson County Republican Party’s “Candidate Roundup” on Jan. 31 — even though he paid the $10 admission fee. A few days earlier, he was allowed to film a GOP U.S. Senate candidates’ forum in Highlands Ranch.

According to observers, Willis has shifted his interest from the GOP gubernatorial race to the Republican U.S. Senate contest.

After state Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, dropped out of the GOP gubernatorial race, perhaps Democrats downgraded the contest from a political battle to a playground scuffle between 3rd District Congressman Scott McInnis and businessman Dan Maes.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Lt. Governor Jane Norton has been filmed at several events — a couple of snippets were distributed to the media by the DSCC. One clip captured Norton saying that she aims to abolish the Department of Education. ProgressNow Colorado called the idea “radical nonsense” in an e-mail blitz to Democrats.

The “radical” idea has become a common plank in stump speeches by her Republican opponents, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, former state Senator Tom Wiens, businessman Cleve Tidwell and patent attorney Steve Barton.

Norton campaign staffers said that they have never complained about Willis or asked that he be prevented from filming their candidate (although some Dems think otherwise.) Hosts of events, they said, have made their own decisions on whether the “tracker” is allowed in or forced out.

While zigzagging across the state, the Norton campaign has offered to treat Willis to a meal or two. Reportedly, the “tracker” said thanks, but no thanks to the campaign’s goodwill gesture.

WIENS’ $540,000 SHOWS COMMITMENT” TO RACE

Former state Senator Tom Wiens pumped $540,000 into his Republican U.S. Senate campaign during the final quarter last year. He’s prepared to infuse more personal cash into the campaign if necessary.

“I hope people understand how committed I am,” said Wiens, a rancher and businessman from Sedalia.

Wiens declared his candidacy in early November — a late entry in the field crowded with Republican candidates Jane Norton, former Lt. Governor, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, businessman Cleve Tidwell, patent attorney Steve Barton and a handful of lesser known players.

Now, Wiens is courting the “Tea Party” and “9-12” activists as well as veteran Republicans. He said he’s tapped several campaign county coordinators but can’t forecast how many delegates he’ll pick up through caucuses next month.

Wiens is keenly aware that many anti-establishment activists have never participated in caucuses and that they dislike the “corporate” politics of both the Democratic and Republican parties.

“Nobody knows the caucus system better than I do and respects it,” said Wiens, who in his past campaigns traveled the caucus route to the ballot.

Wiens, however, is leaving the door open to petition onto the Republican primary ballot — and to unfurl a high-profile media campaign.

CURIOUS CAMPAIGN ALLIANCES

During the El Paso County GOP Central Committee meeting in November, the Jane Norton for U.S. Senate campaign circulated a list of more than 100 supporters from the Colorado Springs area.

One of those was Cami Bremer, who cozily chatted in the back of the Cheyenne Mountain High School auditorium with one of Norton’s opponents, former state Senator Tom Wiens, before his speech to the party central committee members.

In addition to Norton and Wiens, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, Denver businessman Cleve Tidwell and patent attorney Steve Barton of Penrose are gunning for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination. The nominee will challenge the winner of the Democratic Party contest, either U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet or former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.

Few questioned Bremer’s loyalty to the Norton campaign. In fact, last month Bremer scooped up a stack of Norton fliers to hand to Republicans attending a debate between Norton and Buck hosted by the Colorado Springs Republican Women’s Club.

So it was curious to see that the Wiens campaign paid Colorado Springs-based SmartTracks $5,000 and $19,238 in the last quarter of 2009.

Sources said the Bremer, who has worked for SmartTracks since March 2009, promoted the software program to Wiens and other candidates as a tool for fundraising, communications and voter tracking. She also pitched the program — and her management of it — to the El Paso County GOP Executive Committee.

Bremer’s proposal was supported by several key Republicans, including former county GOP Chair Greg Garcia and past party Executive Director Nathan Fisk. Current county party Chair Kay Rendleman rejected the proposal because the SmartTracks software and Bremer’s management fee were too expensive.

Cami Bremer is married to Olympic athlete Eli Bremer, who is head of the county Young Republicans and is the son of former El Paso County Commissioner Duncan Bremer, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress from the 5th District in 2006.

Fisk, who is also listed as a Norton supporter, is the director of business development for 5Ring Insight, a motivational consulting business, co-founded by Eli Bremer in 2008.

Fisk and Patrick Davis co-founded Renew Colorado, a non-profit political committee to promote conservative issues and candidates. The Wiens campaign paid more than $6,000 to Davis for political consulting.

Keeping it all in the family — and friends circle — Fisk’s brother, Kyle Fisk, director of Bull Horn Communications, received $5,000 from the Wiens campaign.

Another campaign expenditure of interest is the more than $20,000 to New West Capital LLC in Sedalia for vehicle leasing and office rental.

Hmmm… isn’t that Wiens’ company?

TEA PARTY’S PATRIOTIC SAMPLER

The Teller Tea Party encourages everyone to be a “Proud American Patriot” and offers a 14-point tip sheet for the political revolution and survival. Sample these suggestions:

• Keep track of bills in Congress — and “keep the pressure on!!”

• Attend as many Tea Party rallies as possible, and “take your children.”

• “Discriminate where and how you spend your money, giving preference to family-run small businesses. Support businesses that openly support LIBERTY. Don’t support businesses that don’t reflect your values.”

• “Cancel AARP, newspaper/magazine subscriptions.”

• “Don’t buy anything made by GE (General Electric).”

• “Live frugally. Drive less; pay less at the pump and the tax coffers. The less you spend, the less tax government collects.”

• “Buy incandescent light bulbs while you still can.”

• “Educate and arm yourself with truth. Don’t watch mainstream TV or news. Read a book.” (The recommended literature includes Liberty and Tyranny, Common Sense, The Constitution Made Easy, The 5000 Year Leap, and Atlas Shrugged.)

• Parents are instructed to call their children’s school to find out what, if any, political material is being presented in classes. If the U.S. Constitution is part of course study and the students say The Pledge of Allegiance each morning — then bonus points awarded to the school.

• Maintain a 6-month supply of food, water, medicines and money for survival.

• Participate in Operation Pink Slip:

“NOTICE — TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT

We The People Hereby serve notice that your services or lack thereof are no longer desired or required!

YOU ARE FIRED!!

Final notice shall be recorded on election day, November 2nd, 2010 at which time you be overwhelmingly voted out of office.”

(Patriots are encouraged to sign and send the statement to incumbent elected officials, and not just Democrats.)