Ian Silverii, the wise-cracking, fast-talking, political genius who ran the state’s largest leftie group for the previous 5 years, is shifting on, which ought to come as a aid as Colorado’s ragtag Republicans try to get their act collectively.
Silverii’s tenure at ProgressNow Colorado roughly coincided with the presidential election that led to Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 and QAnon believer Lauren Boebert’s election to Congress in 2020 — bookends that revved up the liberal base and fattened the group’s coffer with donations.
Silverii, 35, who will keep on at ProgressNow till his successor is employed, says he isn’t certain of his subsequent profession transfer.
The group was based in 2003 as a foil to the Independence Institute, which payments itself as free-market and libertarian. Independence Institute President Jon Caldara — who, like Silverii, is a political jester — believes ProgressNow has helped flip Colorado into California.
However Caldara additionally ripped conservatives.
“Progressives have taken management of all ranges of energy in state authorities in addition to all city areas as a result of they and their monetary backers assume by way of a long time and about getting adjustments in coverage,” Caldara mentioned. “Conservatives have let this occur as a result of they and their monetary backers assume by way of solely the following election and about getting personalities elected.”
Silverii and I grew to become pals after the 2010 election when Home Democrats employed Silverii, who had labored on legislative races, as their deputy comms director. We talked on a regular basis as a result of a) I lined the Capitol for The Denver Publish, and b) Silverii grew to become my newest professional bono tech assistant.
Our decade-long friendship has survived ProgressNow’s unrelenting, over-the-top, vicious assaults on U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Yuma Republican who misplaced his re-election bid final yr, and my run-ins with ProgressNow staffer Alan Franklin, who’s much more juvenile and petty than I’m, if that’s attainable.
Silverii and I really agree on numerous issues that I can’t share as a result of we speak in confidence to one another. However we’re on the identical web page relating to former Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ decency, the harm brought on by Trump’s presidency and the way Silverii’s son, Davis, would possibly simply be the cutest 1-year-old on Fb.
After which there’s our habit to politics.
“There’s nothing on this planet like working a marketing campaign and profitable one,” Silverii mentioned. “There’s a flood of serotonin to your mind that’s extremely arduous to get elsewhere.”
Silverii moved to Colorado in 2007 after graduating from Rutgers College in New Jersey, the place he loaded up on political science courses on the finish. He grew up in New Jersey, which explains his behavior of incessantly utilizing the F-word whether or not in complimentary or assault mode.
“It’s the most versatile phrase within the English language,” he mentioned.
Silverii’s first win was in 2008 when he ran Rep. Gwyn Inexperienced’s re-election marketing campaign. The younger Jew — Silverii’s grandparents have been Holocaust survivors — grew to become shut pals with the older Catholic public servant billed because the “combating Granny.” He was inconsolable when Inexperienced died in 2018.
However 2010 was a a lot more durable yr for Democrats, partially due to considerations over President Obama’s well being care plan. Led by Reps. Frank McNulty and Amy Stephens, the GOP wrestled management of the state Home by a one-vote margin.
“I used to be satisfied my brief profession in politics was over,” mentioned Silverii, who was the deputy director of the Home effort to elect Democrats.
As an alternative he received the comms job and started aiming barbs at McNulty and different Republicans.
Home Democrats took again the bulk in 2012 and maintain it to this present day. When Boulder Democrat Dickey Lee Hullinghorst was nominated speaker by her caucus two days after the 2014 election, she tapped Silverii as her chief of employees.
It wasn’t an ideal match. Silverii developed abdomen issues and his weight dropped to 145 kilos.
“It was the best-worst job I had ever had,” Silverii mentioned. “I’m not a coverage wonk, I’m a marketing campaign man.”
ProgressNow employed Silverii as its govt director in 2016.
The yr after its founding, the group pulled off an infinite upset, serving to Democrats in 2004 win each the state Home and Senate for the primary time since 1960. However through the years, ProgressNow’s affect was questioned. A 2014 story in 5280 journal by revered political reporter Eli Stokols requested, “After enjoying a key position in turning Colorado blue, are the state’s best-known liberal hell-raisers shedding their mojo?”
Silverii inherited a two-member employees, together with Franklin, and started hiring folks to bridge the hole between the progressive nonprofit group and the brand new activists who have been calling themselves “the resistance.”
Alongside the way in which, Silverii met one other younger Democrat, Colorado native Brittany Pettersen. He was exterior the Capitol in late December 2009 when he encountered a very chilly blonde in a giant puffy ski jacket who was holding a clipboard.
“She requested, ‘Do you may have a second to ‘Save the Kids’? ” Silveri recalled. “I took one have a look at her and simply knew, proper there. We stood within the mild snow and talked for just a few hours and she or he gave me her quantity.”
That night time he referred to as his mom in New Jersey to say, “I simply met the girl I’m going to marry.” Seven years later they tied the knot on the governor’s mansion in entrance of a who’s who of Democrats. By that point, Pettersen was a state consultant from Lakewood. She was elected state senator in 2018 as a part of the bluest wave to hit Colorado for the reason that Melancholy.
When Silverii referred to as to let me know that he was leaving ProgressNow and the information could be introduced in just a few days, I assumed he was going to work full time on his newest pastime: cooking.
He makes bagels and breads, and his smoked and marinated meats are so good that the couple’s babysitter lately despatched house a word with Davis: “Do you guys have a recipe you may be keen to share on the ribs & brisket that Davis brings? It appears to be like and smells superb!”
Silverii at all times joked to Republicans that in the event that they wished to take him out of the political enviornment they need to spend money on a cooking start-up for him. However, he mentioned, that can proceed to be his pastime, not his subsequent job.
After his announcement, I reached out to conservatives for his or her ideas on Silverii. Many requested, “What’s he actually going to do?” One declined to remark, saying, “I hate the bastard.”
Kelly Maher, vp of selling for Caucus Room, a social media website for conservatives, used to look on 9News with Silverii, offering the right-left perspective on political points.
“Ian has been a very good pal and a worthy adversary through the years. We do not agree on a lot relating to politics however we agree on loads relating to life,” she mentioned. “I’m a greater individual as a result of Ian made me so.”
I’ve to agree.