Hiedi Heidi Ganahl kicked off her campaign for Governor last September with a series of interviews that were a complete disaster, punctuated by a laughable attempt to get tough with 9News reporter Marshall Zelinger (“Why all the divisive questions?“). She blamed the media for her own failure to answer basic and very obvious questions, which in truth just exposed the fact that Ganahl hadn’t even really thought about the answers.
After that round of interview #FAILs, Ganahl went more than 9 months without speaking to a mainstream media outlet and regularly complaining about journalists on right-wing radio shows. She only relented to a handful of interviews when the June 28th Primary Election was drawing near. As soon as the Primary ended, Ganahl was back to bashing the media (and specifically 9News) for not covering her campaign…which is hard for the media to do when you WON’T TALK TO THEM.
When she introduced her Lieutenant Governor pick — or, at least, the person who agreed to do it — in July, she invited the Colorado media and then absolutely refused to answer questions whatsoever. And then came Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Ganahl joined all of the major candidates for office in Colorado at a Republican Party press conference in Denver in which the entire GOP largely lit itself on fire with a bunch of ridiculous comments. During her time at the microphone, Ganahl repeated her “Heidi Hole” policy idea, which includes eliminating the state income tax and cutting the gas tax in half. As other news outlets have noted, this proposal would create a preposterous $10 BILLION hole in the state budget; Ganahl doesn’t have any ideas for how to deal with such a massive gap, nor does she seem to be thinking much about it. The last official word we heard from her campaign was via a spokesperson who said, “We have a policy team working on it.”
After the GOP press conference, Ganahl sat down for another interview with Zelinger and 9News. It was only her second interview with 9News — the most-watched news station in the entire state — in the last 11 months. Just like last September, Zelinger asked some very obvious and fair questions; and again, Ganahl responded with word-salad nonsense. Take a look, or read the transcript that follows:
ZELINGER: “Income tax, you say you want zero percent income tax. Same idea. You do that, what’s getting cut or where is the money coming from?”
GANAHL: “So Marshall, my intention is to put more money back into the pockets of the people of Colorado. One of the ways we can do that is to take us to zero income tax. We can do it about one percent a year over my first term, a little bit more than that if you average it out. We’ve got to tighten our belt. We’ve got to reduce the size of government. Jared Polis has added almost 4,000 full-time employees equivalence into the government. He’s grown the size of government by over 20%. That’s one way we can reduce the cost. The other way is to attract new business. The five top performing economies in states across the United States are zero income tax states. It is absolutely beneficial to the State of Colorado to do so. We also need to affect fraud and waste, there’s plenty of that to go around, and some of the Polis pork that he’s added in as governor. Finally, special interests and favors. That’s something we’ve got to address as well, as he talked about with Disney. [Pols gibberish emphasis] Something like that is not OK for the people of Colorado and for the small business owners who are really hurting right now.”
ZELINGER: “The five states, I think, have higher property taxes and higher state sales tax, so would you be for that?”
GANAHL: “I have no intention of raising other taxes in order to accomplish this goal. I am a governor, I will be a governor who has big, bold ideas for this state. I’m tenacious. I’m a leader. I’ve had a lot of experience. I manage a $5 billion budget at CU. I help do that as a Regent. I will roll up my sleeves and get this done for the people of Colorado.”
Ganahl has big, bold ideas for this state. Those ideas just happen to be completely implausible.
Zelinger does a good job in the rest of this 9News story explaining the MASSIVE problems that would result from eliminating the income tax without replacing that revenue with something else. The math is inescapable, as Ganahl would understand if she paused for even a minute to consider the mechanics of her policy ideas.
Zelinger then turns his attention to Ganahl’s proposal to cut the gas tax in half, pointing out that the gas tax provides money to the Colorado Department of Transportation for highways; counties for road maintenance; cities for streets; and funding for the Colorado State Patrol…
ZELINGER: “If I heard correctly out there, you said you want to slash the gas tax in half and still fund roads.”
ZELINGER: “How do you do that?”
GANAHL: “Well, after [Senate Bill] 260 passed, what I realized after doing a lot of research, that a lot of those funds, new taxes to the people of Colorado, are being put into different buckets of money that don’t fix the roads. I don’t believe the people of Colorado understand that. What I’m more concerned about is the EPA 179B determination letter that Jared Polis has not submitted that will raise the cost of gas 51 cents a gallon because we’ll be required to use blended fuel. That is not OK. Right now, people are suffering in Colorado. They need to be able to afford gas. And by raising the gas — the cost of gas by 51 cents a gallon — because Jared Polis didn’t want to submit the science to the EPA is tragic.” [Pols emphasis]
We still don’t know what in the hell Ganahl is talking about when she demands that Polis “submit the science,” but she almost certainly has no idea, either. It’s just a thing she says.
Zelinger gives it one more try, even using Ganahl’s tortured example of SB-260 as a starting point:
ZELINGER: “The [Senate Bill] 260 comment, would you keep the other fees in place, to fund — like, if you’re going to cut the gas tax would the other fees stay in place in 260?”
GANAHL: “We’ll talk about that as we go forward, but my intention, my goal is to put more money into the people of Colorado’s pockets. And we’re going to do that by cutting the gas tax in half and still fixing the roads [Pols emphasis]…which I’m experiencing all over the state, traveling, meeting voters across Colorado and the roads are a huge issue. It’s something I hear about all the time and experience on a day-to-day basis.”
Great, but HOW are you going to make that work in the real world? Say SOMETHING.
If Ganahl isn’t going to even try to explain her pie-in-the-sky policy ideas, she might as well just turn up the level of ridiculousness. When I’m Governor, groceries will be free and and we’ll build a new ski resort on Neptune!
There are a LOT of reasons why Heidi Ganahl is not going to be elected Governor in November, but this covers many of her basic problems. Her ideas are senseless, and even after being told this repeatedly, she makes no effort to come up with realistic-sounding answers. Ganahl could have prepared for media questions that any nitwit could predict, but instead she just rattles off complaints about incumbent Gov. Jared Polis.
There’s an old saying in politics that you have to make the case to fire before you make the case to hire. Ganahl is trying to do the former, but she seems to have decided that she isn’t even going to bother attempting the latter. That’s not going to work. Ever.
We sort of assumed that Ganahl would eventually come up with something to talk about before Election Day. But here we are in August, with the most important 8 weeks of the campaign in front of us, and Heidi Ganahl is still running a campaign about nothing.