Joe Neguse, co-founder of the controversial youth-oriented GOTV group New Era Colorado and current Colorado University Board of Regents member, has announced his intention to run for Colorado Secretary of State in 2014. Neguse, a Democrat, serves as a board member of New Era Colorado and created the organization with several other recent college graduates in 2006.
New Era Colorado, a GOTV campaign that targets high school and college age youth, has come under scrutiny for its crude, juvenile, and unprofessional approach to politics. In the last election cycle, New Era employees boasted publicly on Facebook and other social media networks about getting drunk before going to work and registering voters for Barack Obama’s re-election.
At a college job fair earlier this year, New Era used its booth to hand out condoms imploring students to “do it for democracy”. The condoms were stamped with the New Era Colorado logo and the web address of a New Era voter registration website.
The organization also added to its sex-obsessed narrative with a clearly male mannequin decked in only brightly colored underwear and a t-shirt that said, “Vote, F*cker”, featured at its table. The booth, which was “manned” entirely by women in their twenties, was at the job fair positioned merely as a voter registration drive.
The immaturity that has defined the organization has moved beyond its political marketing schemes. The funding and structure of New Era Colorado also remain dubious. Campaign finance reports with the Colorado Secretary of State show that the “New Era Colorado Political Committee” registered by go-to liberal agent Julie Wells was first launched in 2006 and terminated at the end of 2010. During those four years the organization received only $7,000 in listed contributions.
The same “New Era Colorado Political Committee” was then registered again, but not until October of 2012, after Media Trackers caught the group dropping voter guides with specific political endorsements at Colorado State University. New Era went off the books yet again just two months and a mere $2,200 later, listing its termination date as December 6, 2012 – the day before its first post-election campaign finance report was due.
Neguse, now the leading Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, appears to be unapologetic for his organization’s activity. His Board of Regents bio lists “co-founder of New Era Colorado” as part of his resume on the official Colorado University website, as does his campaign website under “About Joe.” However, New Era Colorado scrubbed Neguse’s name from its “Board of Directors” list shortly before his campaign announcement.
With over $3,600 in personal political contributions, Neguse has managed to give exclusively to Democratic politicians and liberal causes, including Senator Evie Hudak and the Colorado Blueflower Fund.
On his campaign website, Neguse attempts to claim immunity from “partisan games” despite his strictly partisan past and political giving. Neguse explains that he is seeking the office of the Secretary of State because, “elections are the foundation of a representative government and are too important to be the victim of partisan games.”
Neguse’s first campaign finance report of contributions and expenditures is due to the Secretary of State’s office on July 15.