Colorado Democratic State Assembly - live blog

05/22/2010 08:02 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

8:36 - Finally found the press area and am set up! Pretty low key so far with most people sitting and waiting and some milling around. Lines at the county register booths are very short. Only two groups handing out lit on the way in was a union group saying we should build more stuff and a Palestinian rights person. Also the Bennet campaign was giving away Krispy Kreme donuts - my decision yesterday cost me a donut!

Romanoff & Bennet teams are both out in force. More Romanoff signs (by far) both outside and inside. A lot of people wearing Romanoff t-shirts. No surprise with this, he does have the majority among the delegates. There's also a couple of signs & big banners up for all of our Congress People - DeGette, Polis, Salazar, Markey, & Perlmutter. None for Udall though - I guess as he's not running this year he doesn't put anything up.

8:53 - There are two press spots in the skyboxes over section 108 and each has two teams in them. I'm sharing the one I am in with Fox News. They appear to be nice people even though they are part of Murdoch's plan to control the universe.

8:57 - Hick has a pretty strong presence here too. Lots of signs and stickers being handed out by his campaign team. Still pretty quiet and boring. And very well organized considering that we're Democrats.

8:59 - Opening video is starting. Starts off with the great things we have done starting and ending with the word LIBERAL.

9:00 - Pat Waak calling us to order (on time!), introducing party officers

9:04 - Pledge of Allegiance and now a woman with an incredible voice singing the Star Spangled Banner.

9:07 - Jared Polis introduced and gets a strong welcome. Doing a good job of laying out the progress we Dems have made in the state. Going from a small state footprint where we were trying to reduce the damage of Republican administration to pretty much running the state. (Yeah baby!)

9:14 - Joe Neguse up speaking. Getting everyone worked up to elect Democrats across the state. And now a short part about why he's running for regent.

9:17 - Diane Primavera - Nice friendly welcome to Broomfield speech.

9:22 - Bill Ritter walking out - and he's getting a standing ovation. (I'm going to miss him.) Calling out a giant thank you to the army of volunteers that make our party a success. He's presenting an award to a woman who has been county chair for 22 years. Calling out a thank you to Pat Waak (she does do an outstanding job). Thanking everyone for their support for the past 4 years. (Ritter is definitely a class act.)

He's now speaking about how as Democrats we must come together. That the differences we have within our team are nothing compared to the difference with the Republicans. He is speaking to the difference in Republican and Democratic control both in Colorado and for the country as a whole. Its interesting - his talk is concentrating more on the federal races. Nice plus to Hickenlooper at the end. This has got to be bittersweet for Ritter as this is his swan song.

9:34 - Ritter gone and no one on stage or any announcement of what/when next. They're showing screenshots on the large screen and the shot of both Fox news and one of Glen Beck got large boo's.

9:46 - Still sitting and waiting... Here's the official schedule:

  • Selection of the Temporary Officers of the Assembly
  • Seating of Assembly Alternates
  • Pledge of allegiance
  • Invocation
  • Welcome by Rep Jared Polis
  • Welcome by the Broomfield Democratic Delegation (Rep. Diane Primavera)
  • Welcome by Governor Bill Ritter -
  • Introduction of Colorado Democratic Party Initiative Chairs and DNC Member
  • Report of the Credentials Committee Chair, Carol Burkhart
  • Report of the Permanent Organization Committee Chair, Carolyn Boller
  • Lt. Governor Barbara O'Brien
  • Nomination for Governor
  • Nomination for U.S. Senate
  • Collection of ballots for U.S Senate
  • Diana DeGette
  • John Salazar
  • Betsy Markey
  • CD 5 Candidate (TBD)
  • John Flerlage
  • Ed Perlmutter
  • Nomination for Treasurer
  • Nomination for Secretary of State
  • Introduction of State House by Terrance Carroll
  • Introduction of State Senate by Brandon Shaffer
  • Nomination and balloting for CU Regent
  • Collection of ballots for CU Regent
  • Nomination for Attorney General
  • Senator Mark Udall
  • Platform by Hal Bidlack, Chair of the Platform Committee
  • Announcement of results of balloting
  • Adjournment
So we're apparently waiting for "Introduction of Colorado Democratic Party Initiative Chairs and DNC Member" - but no idea why this is requiring a delay.

9:51 - Pat's back! Introduced 3 people and we applauded.

9:53 - Credentials committee report (this falls in the necessary but boring part). Everyone just voted aye on something.

9:58 - Lt. Gov Barbara O'Brien now up. Introduces Dem board of education and regent officials - applause for all.

10:02 - Nominations are now open for Governor for the state of Colorado. The tension is unbearable as everyone wonders who it will be :) Wellington Webb is nominating Hick for Governor. It was a pretty straightforward speech - not killer (and Webb can deliver killer).

10:04 - Video about Hick. It's person after person talking about Hick. It strikes me as a way of introducing Hick as everyone's friend and a regular guy. I think that works well for this audience because they're going to work hard for him - it helps them sell him.

10:08 - Hick walks out to a giant standing ovation. He's wearing a suite with very wide labels - and the labels are zebra skin. He starts off talking up the attributes of zebras and says he "has always been a zebra of a different stripe." He's definitely turning that add to an advantage. Now speaking in a very inclusive way saying that all of us, Democrats, Independents, and Republicans want our state to prosper. Saying that the way forward is not by trashing the other candidate, but to talk about his vision of what he wants to do for Colorado.

Now talking about how he is not a politician, that he's never run for any office before Mayor. What he knows is running a business, creating jobs, and watching every dollar. Talking about the public/private partnerships he's built to get problems addressed. Brings up how, when everyone said that opening a restaurant in Lo-Do during a recession was impossible, he pulled it off. That when everyone said we can never get the national convention here, he did.

Now says "jobs have to be our number one priority." If he truly gets that and focuses the campaign on that, then I think he's got a very strong campaign. Nothing specific listed about how to accomplish this, but a lot about why we need to address this problem. Takes that to we need a stellar job on education to have the workforce for the future (damn straight). And says we need to properly fund education - which got a surprisingly mild applause. Next points out that Higher Ed funding is directly related to the health of the state economy.

He then says that he will point out the differences between his campaign and his opponent. He listed out a couple of good phrases included building Colorado up instead of tearing people down.

10:25 - Hick is walking off to another standing ovation. He's got an interesting style, it appears to be half common guy and half very competent businessman. He does it in a ver non-pretensious way and that sells well.

10:26 - Hickenlooper nominated as sole candidate by acclimation! It's official and that means one thing - bad news for the Republicans!

10:28 - Nomination for Romanoff announced and the place erupted chanting "Andrew." Person nominating him stressed that he has the highest ethics and was the former speaker of the house. Person seconding it stresses that regular people like her support Andrew. Now a video narrated by Andrew taking us through his family and his growing up. Next talking about the service he did helping the poor. It then went to his service in the legislature which got loud applause. Gave a beautiful story of a woman out of work and her wish to have someone representing her in Washington - strong way to end it.

10:37 - Andrew coming out on the stage to a rock star reception. Starts of thanking his mom - "everything I am or hope to be I owe to her." (Very classy.) Next says that after the primary we must all support the winner - that he (Andrew will) and everyone must. But he then says that the Senate seat does not belong to "his opponent," it belongs to Colorado. Now saying he will always remember that he represents the people of Colorado, not the interests in Washington.

Now in to a litany of the good things that we Democrats accomplished in Colorado once we gained a majority. (And everyone knows that occurred with him as Speaker.) That so many in Colorado are better off for those efforts. He then talked about needing as good leadership in the capitol as we have in the white house. And then he said that it is critical to have Senators that will represent the people and not sell us out - and that is why he is running. (I'd call that throwing down the gauntlet big time.) He then said fix the system or get out of the way - that got a giant applause.

Really good listing of what we should be doing in Washington from not giving bank CEOs a get out of jail free card to letting oil companies that trash the environment have a pass. He's diving in to how BP is not being held accountable for the devastation it has inflicted on our country. And how BP's immense amount of lobbying dollars is giving them a pass. He's now selling his candidacy as saying no to the existing system where the special interests drive the legislation. He reiterated his refusal to accept contributions to special interest groups - and that got a major applause.

He's tapping in to the deep dissatisfaction people have with Washington where it does the bidding of the lobbyists rather than the will of the people. That the one way to change this is for the people to elect a Senator that will represent those that voted for them. That it will happen here, and elsewhere, and each of those Senators elected, in total, will change the system. He ended "stand with me and I will stand with you always."

10:55 - He's walking off now. Andrew Romanoff gives a damn good speech (same at the Boulder assembly). And he makes points that are spot-on and resonate well.

10:57 Bennet starting with his video. His daughter is narrating the bio part, then his wife narrating. It does a good job of showing him as a regular guy who's life is centered on his family. And it does a good and unobtrusive job of showing that he grew up middle class. Then we got Obama's speech here for him followed by newspaper headlines touting Bennet accomplishments in the Senate.

11:04 - Nomination of Bennet. This is weird, they have the lights low for this part with a spot on the nominator. I think that reduces the level of response to the speech. Says Michael's accomplishments in office are to stand up to special interests and reform Wall St (I call bullshit on that one). And to pass healthcare reform. Many now chanting "we want Mike."

11:07 - Second for Michael Bennet. Pretty generic Michael's doing a great job speech.

11:09 - Bennet supporters on their feet (a lot fewer than Romanoff), and Bennet now up on the stage. His first line was "thank you and I accept your nomination to the United States Senate." Thank you too all the people have supported him. Talking about how we all have the same aspirations for our children and our state. Talking about his parents coming here as refugees from Europe during WWII. That his parents history is the story of America is the land of opportunity.

Talking about how he is not a politician and is concerned about our political system. Talking about his efforts working for Hick and then at DPS. That leads in to leaving more for our kids, not less for our kids. Talking about the legislation they passed in the Senate - credit card reform, health care reform, taking on the big banks, and the tax cuts delivered to 90% of the people in Colorado.

Next brought up his bill to freeze congressional pay until they fix the economy (he says that was passed). Then discussed his proposal to not allow ex-Senators to be lobbyists. Then talking about the giant financial issues facing most people in our country. Now trash talking the Republicans - crowd happily booing along to that. "They want to take us backwards while we want to take Colorado and our country forward."

Very uplifting speech about how we can make things better, how we can improve the economy, bring our troops home, and we can statrt making responsible decisions and not leave our children a mountain of debt. Then brought in the we will also elect Hickenlooper as Governor and support Obama as president.

11:23 - Standing ovation from the Bennet supporters as he walks off. I don't know how good my estimate is but I think Romanoff has about twice as many people standing and waving signs. If I am accurate (no idea if I am), then the vote will be 66/33.

A couple of notes on this. Bennet's presentation has improved. He's not at Romanoff's level, but he's now decent. And he's lost that Thurston Howell III voice and presentation. Strong improvement. He also said nothing about pulling together after the primary - nada. And no real effort to compare himself to Romanoff. Maybe he figures the primary is a slam dunk but it was weird. Bottom line though is that the primary has made Bennet a better campaigner.

11:26 - It's voting time.

11:40 - reminding people to get their ballot in. We continue to wait.

11:48 - Dianna DeGette is now speaking. The place is half empty now. I don't know if they're walking around outside or if people just took off after voting. DeGette is talking about how we Dems are not going to back down from the new legislation we have accomplished. Listing what has been done over the last 18 months. DeGette is a good rep, but a political speech does not seem to be her strong suit (or she's having an off day). Nothing of note said.

11:56 - John Salazar - Salazar is fired up, he's talking up that Congress has done "exactly what you asked us to do." Next talking about the importance of sticking together through and after the primary. Talking up the other congressional candidates and then thanking everyone for the privlege and honor of representing his district. Strong speech and short too so it was well received.

11:59 - Betsy Markey - Good populist speech. Bringing up that she has spent more time out of politics than in politics, has raised a family, and has created two companies. She's got a really good story for the present political environment. Talking about the work she did to bring about credit card reform. Going through a list of accomplishments and presenting it well, ending with "health care reform we can all be proud of." Now she's taking on Sarah Palin agressively - I love Betsy when she gets like this. She asks the great question "when did hope and change become a bad thing?" She brings up the spot-on point that hope and change is the fundamental American approach to life.

Oh wow. She was so good on her close I just watched instead of writing it down. But she told Cory Gardner - "bring it on."

12:09 - Ed Perlmutter - Starting talking off about the great quality of the Democrats we have elected in Colorado (very true). Next went in to the "rude awakening" the Republicans got in the recent special election in Pennsylvania. Going through the big picture of making things better through hope and change. It's a strong speech and it's really a speech for the Democratic party. Not a word about his race.

12:15 - John Flerlage - start of the sacrificial lambs category. He's making a good anti-war speech. Now trash talking Lamborn & Coffman. It was a strong speech, but the numbers in CD6 are overwhelmingly Republican.

12:22 - We now have someone up who is our CD5 candidate (did not catch his name). He apparently decided to run 2 hours ago (that is not a joke). I do appreciate people who step up to do this because we should always challenge ever seat. And from these races we do gauge change (if any) in the districts.

12:26 - Now have all the congressional candidates up together for a final round of applause. John Salazar grabbed the mike to call out a big thank you to Pat Waak (well done).

12:27 - Nomination & second for Cary Kennedy. The second was by Cary's mom - that was very sweet. Video is all about the BEST program that makes it possible to rebuild broken down school buildings.

11:31 - Cary now speaking, first accepting the nomination. Introducing the family. Going in to detail about how she did a superb job protecting the state's money - they have made money every single year since she's been in office (which is more than most fund managers can say). She has really good presentation in her speech. She's now taking credit for Colorado's economy being in better shape than the country as a whole - it's bullshit but I think it will sell. Now talking about adequately funding schools, and making sure the funds are made best use of. Trash talking her opponents - one is a film maker with no financial experience, one is a Bush family member with no financial experience, and the 3rd is a Wall St. banker. She contrasts that with herself who the people of Colorado can trust to take good care of their money. She's got a powerful argument for the race.

12:40 - With no other nominations Cary is nominated by acclimation.

12:42 - Nomination, second, etc. for Bernie Beuscher as Sec. of State. Have a 3rd person up asking for campaign workers (that's not a good sign). This was not a good presentation.

12:51 - Bernie now up. Talking up the improvements he has brought to the office and doing a good job putting it across. Now talking about keeping elecions fair and clean.

12:56 - Bernie nominated by acclimation.

I just talked with a Bennet campaign staffer. And I'm still alive! He disagreed with me that reinstituting Glass-Stegall is key to avoiding a repeat of the great recession. But he did agree that if we have a repeat in the next 10 years, he'll call me up and tell me I was right. I'm sure that will make everyone going through another recession feel much better :) I also asked the Bennet campaign if I can interview Senator Bennet on the topic of financial regulation. No reply so far.

They're introducing all the House and Senate members.

I'm going to lunch - back about 2:30

Update: I'm not going back. My daughters (met them for lunch) asked me to spend the afternoon. Family first. The Spot blog on the Post should have the Bennet/Romanoff results as soon as they're known. Have a nice afternoon all.