Jared Polis Shakes Up 2018 Governor’s Race


Big news this Sunday morning from the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews: Congressman Jared Polis of Boulder will run for governor of Colorado in 2018, setting up the biggest Democratic primary in Colorado politics since…well, Polis’ last primary in 2008:

Congressman Jared Polis plans to join the crowded race for governor this week, and in doing so, the Boulder Democrat will advocate a vision for Colorado that tests how far to the left the state has shifted politically in the last decade.

In an interview with The Denver Post, the fifth-term lawmaker said his platform will focus on three initiatives: getting Colorado to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, ensuring parents can access free, full-day preschool or kindergarten for children age 3 and older, and encouraging companies in the state to provide stock options to employees.

“This is a campaign of big, bold ideas, and I’m trying to make them happen,” Polis said. “We want a Colorado that works for everybody.”

Rep. Polis’ run has been anticipated by Democrats for some time, but the final go/no-go was kept pretty close to the vest until this past week. It’s a decision that Polis surely didn’t make lightly, and most certainly reflects polling he’s done showing this race to be winnable for him.

Polis’ great wealth gives him a built-in advantage in any race, but there’s more to a primary between Polis and nominal frontrunner Rep. Ed Perlmutter than who can raise the most money. Polis’ bold campaign theme of 100% renewable energy could resonate with a segment of the Democratic base that’s been discontented for a number of years in Colorado as the battles over oil and gas development along the urbanizing Front Range have escalated. Polis has been a leader in that complicated and fractious battle, and if he retains the trust of the environmental left going into this race it could be a crucial edge.

Obviously, Polis’ entry into the 2018 gubernatorial race forces all of us to reset our calculations here. But the biggest takeaway for today is the fact that Democrats are feeling very good about 2018, and there’s going to be healthy competition for what could be the fruits of an historic victory. Between Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter, Democrats have a choice of two of the biggest names in Colorado politics–and that’s got to feel better than a primary between a district attorney and a couple of unknown rich guys.

Game on, folks.

32 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gray in Mountains says:

    I wish Polis and Perlmutter weren't both running. Either is highly qualified as is Cary. But, Cary muffed her roll out in a way I don't think she can recover from. But, Cary could choose to run instead for Treasurer. Or, she'd be an ideal LG.

    Dan Gibbs will be your next congressman in Polis' district.

  2. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Jared will be a great Governor; his platform is spot-on for the Colorado the majority of us envision.  The Congressman has been an incredible leader on Capitol Hill in the Prohibition debate; he carried the amendment to the 2014 Farm Bill (Section 7606) that is the foundation for the entire domestic industrial hemp industry unfolding today.  His vision for early childhood education is in perfect harmony with those of us in agriculture who understand that unless you tend to a young seedling with great care, you can never make up a deficit later on, no matter how many resources you throw at a failed beginning.  

    Not long ago Colorado was considered the global leader in developing a 21st-century economy grounded in clean, abundant electrons.  Jared's vision for a 100% renewable energy future is, again, consistent with the majority of Coloradans.  I happen think we'll get there long before 2045 (see below) as the pure economics of the energy transition is weaning us away from fossil fuel resources at an accelerating rate. 

    This last Thursday we had a 10yr celebration of Clean Energy Action at the CU Natural History Museum, the evening culminating in a presentation by Tony Seba, and energy futurist from Stanford. Tony gave multiple examples of how big business failed to see trends and adjust their business models (embedded in the video).

    For those of you who have been following the Boulder municipalization process, it has been a long and expensive road for Boulder to fight for its (state) constitutional right to own it's own utility.  Thanks to the sheer grit of this small group of advocates it looks like Boulder will prevail in its vision for self-determination of its energy resources.  For all of the ankle biting our trolls here like to inflict on Boulder, Colorado (in particular rural Colorado) owes the city a debt of gratitude.  It was their tenacity in the early days of the Wind Source program that opened up the wind energy opportunities in Colorado.  That journey, which started with the Ponnequin Wind Farm, has culminated in billions of dollars being invested in rural counties in eastern Colorado.  It's the dastardly liberals on the Front Range, who demanded, and now benefit, from the cost savings of those electrons, that provide the business model for these eastern plains projects to exist. 

    To quote Eleanor Roosevelt, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams".  Colorado Democrats have an embarrassment of riches in leaders who dream big.  

    Welcome to the race, Congressman. 

     

    • Pseudonymous says:

      It will be interesting to see if enthusiasm for Polis' support for these efforts is tempered by his support for charter education.  Or pulling his support for anti-fracking initiatives, for that matter.

      • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

        The charter school bill that Polis supported specified "successful" public charter schools (or districts), which had the following criteria:

          Priority is given to the top performing charter schools in each state which: have significantly closed achievement gaps; rank in at least the top 25th percentile in the State in achievement; meet benchmarks on an exam selected by the Secretary of Education; serve a high-need student population; have made Adequate Yearly Progress for two of the last three consecutive years; and exceed the state graduation rate.

        I don't really have a quarrel with any of that. If they are public charter schools, they would need to pay teachers and personnel the going rate per district, and aren't necessarily hiring the rawest TFA recruits.

        On Jared's pulling support for the anti-fracking initiatives, yeah, I'm still a bit sore on that – I think that Jared should have trusted the grassroots folks who had worked so hard on them. We didn't get very much, as concerned citizens, for the COGCC special blue ribbon commission. We got a few more inspectors, a couple of setbacks, some fancy GIS software which to my knowledge hasn't been fully implemented yet, and that's about it. I think Jared had actually paid for some of the signature gathering efforts, but a decision should take into account not just the financial support but the volunteers.

        That said, I do like Polis' platform a lot. But nobody works the crowds and voters like Ed Perlmutter, too, and Cary Kennedy is good,  from the little I know of her. Responding to 6 pt bull's comment, below, I don't think that Kennedy gets a huge share of women's votes just because of her gender. Those days of identity politics are mostly gone.

        • Pseudonymous says:

          Yeah.  It's an open question, but I think that teachers are going to get involved, along with like-minded Dem activists and work against charter school advocates like Jared and Mike.  Whether that will impact Jared, or help Ed, who's more in line with those folks' ideas about education, I certainly don't know.

          I do know that we'll be seeing stuff like the time he called Diane Ravitch "an evil woman…who has caused more harm to public schools, [than anyone] except maybe Koch brothers."  And the performance of his alternative charter high school in Denver that's apparently not a "successful" public charter in that it ranks second-from-last on the district's School Performance Framework.  His sponsorship of an SB-191 lookalike. Then again, I'm fundamentally not OK with charter schools, so my slip is showing.

  3. flatiron says:

    Kennedy will benefit from a 5-way race but guessing Johnston and Ginsberg will eventually drop out and it will be a three -way shootout. Hope they don't damage each other so one can win in Nov 2018

  4. SixPointBull says:

    Good chance that Polis will deliver the nomination to Kennedy. The more boys in the race, the better for her — there is no more solid and motivated anti-Trump protest vote than Dem women.

    Polis gets the lefty Boulder pot wing. Perlmutter gets the suburban moderate / union / lunchbucket Pueblo wing. Johnston gets pro-charter, anti-union Dem voters (both of them.)  Kennedy watches the boys slice their shares of the pie thinner and thinner while her share stays solid. 

    How do you think Beth McCann won the Denver DA race over two Dem men? Come on, COPols, update your line.

  5. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    I think all 4 would likely be great. With that said, I think Jared would be the best, because of what he will focus on, his view of what government would do, and I think he would do best running the executive.

  6. itlduso says:

    The winner will be the one with the most compelling pro-jobs and pro-middle class message.

  7. Gilpin Guy says:

    It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.  I was at a Polis town hall in Gilpin a couple of weeks ago and he has improved in a good way as a politician.  He is polished without coming off as slick and knows the details and history of legislation.

    What is odd is that both Perlmutter and Polis have already endorsed Tammy Story for SD16.  She was at one of our Central Committee meetings and came off as rambling and unfocused.  I could see her as a good candidate for a school board election but I'm afraid she doesn't have the experience or chops to unseat Neville.  Weird endorsements this early in the election cycle.

  8. Nasty WomanNasty Woman says:

    I can understand why Ed and Jared would rather stay  home, it really sucks being a Dem over there right now.  Both are wonderful Congress Persons.  Cary cannot do the state for a gov run, but as LG she could build the base for a future gov run.  Could Ed take the gov and Jared take on Gardner?  I think so.  But, staying in the House makes more sense than running for gov with less than good odds of winning. 

    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

      Look at it this way; if Jared loses he goes back to building successful businesses in the private sector.

      While some might prefer the safety of a cushy government job for life, he clearly doesn't. 

      That should be another mark in his favor for you all. 

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