Ganahl “All But Running”–When Does That Become Illegal?

Not endorsed by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

The Denver Post’s Spot newsletter updates on what’s become a bit of a running joke in recent weeks, the contrived pre-announcement rollout of Republican CU Regent Heidi Ganahl’s campaign for governor–having now by all accounts decided on a run for governor, after publicly flirting with a run for U.S. Senator or even Treasurer in the event polling came back with unencouraging numbers.

Months after the launch of Ganahl’s thinly-veiled “podcast tour” clearly meant to build her dismal name recognition for a campaign and a column in the Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette which has been sounding campaign themes from the beginning, the Post reports that the “long hello” is wearing thin:

Heidi Ganahl, University of Colorado regent and the only Republican left holding a statewide office in Colorado, has said she’s considering a run at Gov. Jared Polis next year. This week she penned a column making the case against his reelection.

It’s pretty on-the-nose for a gubernatorial hopeful, and it’s easy to see her repeating the column’s talking points on the stump. All that’s missing from her tweet teasing it is an actual announcement.

Republicans are banking on the historical trend that says the party out of power does well in the midterms, but beating Polis will be difficult. Don’t just take my word for it — Ganahl called it a “moonshot” when I spoke with her several weeks ago…

The Colorado Sun is echoing a similar theme in today’s Unaffiliated newsletter:

Colorado’s lone statewide Republican elected official may as well be already in the 2022 race to challenge Gov. Jared Polis. [Pols emphasis]

Heidi Ganahl, a University of Colorado regent, laid out her case against Polis in an opinion piece that ran in The Colorado Springs Gazette. She blasted the incumbent’s response to the coronavirus crisis, saying he has “failed and failed and failed.”

Polling since the pandemic began shows Colorado voters disagree with her — or at least they have so far. But Ganahl is setting up a clear line of attack should she make the jump into the race.

In addition to the “podcast tour,” Ganahl has been touring the state’s county Republican Party fundraising dinners along with possible Secretary of State candidate Rose Pugliese. Pugliese has already raised eyebrows with a nonprofit group called “Rose for Colorado” that may or may not be operating a shadow campaign for Pugliese. In Ganahl’s case, it could be more about presenting herself as an implicit candidate rather than actually fundraising. In 2009, eventual GOP loser Scott McInnis was pressured into filing his candidacy after Colorado Ethics Watch complained that he was raising and spending money without declaring his campaign. And of course, after Walker Stapleton got in trouble for raising money for his own SuperPAC ahead of the 2018 elections, it’s always possible they’ve gotten smarter about concealing the obvious.

None of which makes this any less shady of course. If you want to run for office, run for office. All this temporizing on whether to run and for what office inspires the exact opposite of confidence for primary voters at minimum–and at worst it could be against the law.

One Community Comment, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenver says:

    I'm wondering about Ganahl's accounting — seems to me there would need to be BOTH

     * an awareness of what would count as a "campaign contribution," which no doubt can be escaped because Ms. Ganahl is not "officially" declared as a candidate, and thus doesn't have a campaign.  that would need to be done


    * what would be considered a "gift" or other payment to someone who is a public official such as Regent Ganahl. 

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