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September 15, 2021 03:38 PM UTC

Heidi Ganahl's Gubernatorial Campaign Sputters to Life

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Day 2 is not looking much better than Day 1.


Heidi Ganahl during her disastrous interview with 9News on the day of her campaign launch.

Republican Heidi Ganahl finally announced on Tuesday that she is running for Governor in 2022. It may not have been the worst kickoff for a statewide campaign in Colorado history, but only because there really aren’t good records for that sort of thing. We can definitively say, however, that Ganahl’s campaign launch was the worst we’ve seen in Colorado this century.

It was that bad.

Colorado has seen a few rocky campaign starts in recent memory, including Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Cary Kennedy’s cringeworthy Facebook Live moment in 2017 that featured the candidate driving around her neighborhood before pulling into her driveway for the big reveal. But whereas Kennedy’s official announcement was a creative idea that just didn’t work, Ganahl’s launch was a daylong massacre punctuated by one of the worst sit-down interviews we can recall from a Colorado politician.

Ganahl stumbled last week in teasing her campaign launch, first telling reporters that there would be some sort of announcement followed a day later by her campaign inexplicably filing the paperwork to make her candidacy official — thus ruining any last bit of suspense. Her first campaign event on Tuesday was held at Rosie’s Diner in Monument (at 8:00 in the morning), which is an auspicious location that still carries bad juju from former Sen. Cory Gardner’s much-maligned 2020 TV advertisement.

Soon afterward, Ganahl faceplanted in front of a handful of reporters by refusing to answer questions that any rookie campaign staffer should have easily anticipated. It was a foreboding start to a rough day for Ganahl.

[mantra-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”50%”]“I’ll try and win no matter what the path forward is. Whatever my party decides is the path forward…We’ve got a long road ahead.”

     — Heidi Ganahl’s inspiring words Tuesday, as quoted by The Colorado Sun[/mantra-pullquote]

After leaving Monument, Ganahl’s campaign continued on a Front Range tour that somebody apparently forgot to prep outside of these weird “Meat Heidi” signs. From what we hear, Ganahl made a stop at a Camp Bow Wow location in Centennial that was attended by plenty of dogs but no human beings. This is particularly strange when you consider that Ganahl lives in nearby Lone Tree; you’d think her campaign could have wrangled a few neighbors to show up in Centennial.

Things already weren’t going well for Ganahl by the time she rolled into Westminster and sat down for a completely disastrous interview with Marshall Zelinger of 9News. You really need to watch the entire four minute conversation to truly appreciate just how terrible this was for Ganahl, but here are some of the lowlights:

♦ Ganahl was asked about the fact that she deleted a big chunk of her social media history just last week. She responded by saying that it is her “policy as a businessperson” to nuke her social media posts once every six months or so (yeah, right). When Zelinger asked why, she replied, “I don’t think that’s important.” D’oh!


♦ Zelinger then asked Ganahl the same question she had botched earlier with reporters from The Denver Post and elsewhere: Do you think there was fraud in the 2020 election?

Ganahl’s response: “Why all the divisive questions?”

When Zelinger pushed her for an answer on what is — again — a very obvious question, Ganahl barfed this out: “Oh my goodness, Marshall. Let’s talk about what’s important to the people of Colorado. And that’s kids, it’s skyrocketing crime. I just said that kids are killing themselves at record rates and we want to talk about other things that aren’t that important to many people.”

Seriously, that was her answer. Word for word.


♦ Later, Ganahl was tossed a softball about incumbent Gov. Jared Polis, which she used as an opening to complain about how Colorado handled contact tracing in late 2020 that coincided with an increase in deaths at nursing homes. Zelinger followed up Ganahl via email to ask what she would have done differently had she been in charge, and she responded, “Everything.” Ganahl had time to think about this answer, and she still only came up with “Everything.”


An optimist would say that everything will be downhill from here — that Ganahl can’t possibly be any worse than she was on Tuesday. A realist would note that Ganahl has been prepping a run for governor for at least a year now; if this is what happens when Ganahl and her campaign have time to prepare, we can only imagine how rough things will get when Team Ganahl has to think on its feet.

As we’ve seen from polling data, Ganahl wasn’t likely to beat Polis next year no matter how her campaign got off the ground, but nothing that starts this poorly is likely to end well.


7 thoughts on “Heidi Ganahl’s Gubernatorial Campaign Sputters to Life

  1. As a near life long registered Republican (I was a Dem for a couple years in the 1980s), I’m not yet seeing any reason why I would vote for Ganahl instead of Polis.

    She has no credibility at all in talking about kids killing themselves unless she supports masking mandates.

    1. I'm also fascinated to learn what sort of policies she would try to bring on to address the problem she sees:  "kids are killing themselves at record rates."

      Somehow improving the "Safe to Tell" system?

      Gun legislation to limit access to guns by suicidal kids?

      Better support for homes, so there are fewer economic stresses?

      Better help for kids concerned about their alternate gender identities?

      I don't know of anyone in favor of teens committing suicide — and I know several people who have spent parts of their professional careers trying to help kids and diminish suicide rates (and other disastrous outcomes).  Everything I've heard from them and everything I've read about teen suicide has an underlying theme — "it's hard to make a difference."

      1. Probably, Ganahl was trying to get at the real toll that remote learning has taken on the mental health and social skills of children during the pandemic.

        I haven’t seen any studies showing an increase in youthful suicide, now that most schools have returned to in-person learning. The Coloradoan does have an article “Coloado’s Youth Suicide Crisis is worsening”. It’s behind a paywall, so you can search it up if you subscribe to the Coloradoan.
        The article makes the same points I’m mking here; the transitions back and forth from in person to remote learning have been difficult for kids. The most recent data was from 2017-2020.

        During shutdowns, remote learning was very tough on kids who were already depressed. There was an increase in suicide attempts.
        Having to suddenly be the caretaker for younger siblings, missing out on graduation and other coming of age rituals, not being part of a “tribe”, missing basic social interactions was hard on children as much or more than adults.

        Anecdotally, teachers are seeing that younger adolescents, especially low-income kids,  lost a lot of ground socially and academically during the pandemic. But at least they’re alive. And didn’t spread Covid to vulnerable family members. 

        Maybe the effects on kids of the on-again off-again school situation was the point Ganahl was ineptly trying to make. Or maybe I’m giving her too much credit.

  2. The interview with Marshall Zelinger was difficult to watch.  People in Colorado want to talk about what I want to talk about, and not any of those pesky other details like the greatest threat to our democracy and electoral system in American history. Sure. OK Heidi.

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