Heidi Ganahl Just Implodes in Candidate Forum on Friday

There’s no coming back from this.

The candidates for Governor in Colorado got together today for a candidate forum at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science hosted by Colorado Concern. Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl and incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis took turns answering questions from moderator Dean Singleton, the longtime publisher of The Denver Post and a well known conservative voice in Colorado.

Singleton pretty much snuffed out any hope Ganahl might have had at making a late come-from-behind run at Polis in the final weeks before Election Day. Singleton’s persistent questioning absolutely exposed Ganahl as a complete and total fraud whose “ideas” for Colorado are as laughable as they are implausible.

The main topic of conversation centered around Ganahl’s claims that she will eliminate Colorado’s income tax AND cut the gas tax in half, an asinine proposal that Ganahl can’t even begin to explain (though she repeatedly says that she HAS explained it).

The entire video is below. We’ve also broken out the relevant parts about Ganahl’s economic proposals with timestamps.

If you are a Ganahl fan, be forewarned: This is what it looks like when a statewide candidate’s entire campaign is summarily destroyed because of a single event…and we aren’t even yet touching on some of the other cringeworthy moments of today’s debacle. 

 

 

Singleton gets quickly to the point of what will end up being a question Ganahl never actually answers (despite her protests to the contrary) at about the 2-minute mark.

*NOTE: All emphasis is ours

 

SINGLETON: You have said that if you are elected governor, you would advocate eliminating the state income tax and cutting that gasoline tax in half. That’s a big, big hunk of what runs this state. What would you replace it with?

 

GANAHL: Well, first and foremost, we have a spending problem and not a revenue problem, I believe, in Colorado. Our state budget has doubled in the last decade, and a couple billion dollars in the last few years. And I do believe that we should not be one of the largest employers in this state as the state government. I don’t think that is a good path forward for Colorado. We also have states across our nation that are some of the hottest in the economy that are zero income tax. And no, I’m not going to increase other taxes to do this…

…I do big things. I’m all about going big. I don’t nibble around the edges. And we’ve got a big problem here in Colorado. The size of government is too big. Taxes are too high. Regulations are too burdensome. We’ve got to unleash our economy. And in order to do that, I have a big, bold idea to take us to zero income tax for a couple of terms. And I can go into details about how I’d like to do that if you’d like me to.

 

SINGLETON: You know, it kind of makes the “BS” meter go up, because you can’t cut that much revenue and not replace it. Are you going to eliminate the state police? Are you going to eliminate the highway department? The transportation department? You’d have to cut out massive parts of the government. Do you think Coloradans want to live in a state like that?

 

GANAHL: Well, actually, we don’t, Dean. I have some great economists helping me figure this out. If we move fees to taxes, which they actually are, there’s a billion dollars there. If we find some fraud and waste in the budget – who thinks we can find 5% fraud in the budget? – I believe we can. [That’s] another billion or so there. How about we bring new business and industries to Colorado like we do in other zero income states. We’ve looked at the numbers – we think that’s $2 to $3 billion dollars to refill the coffers. How about we get rid of special tax exemptions? How about we reduce the size of government by 10% a year? Governor Polis has grown the size of government by over 20% since he got into office. He’s added 4,000 full-time new employees, 85 new taxes and fees. That is not the way we do things in Colorado.  We are the wild west. We are the new frontier. We’re all about entrepreneurship…

The end is near here.

Ganahl obviously does not provide any real details about her economic proposal, so she pivots to talking about cutting waste and spending in vague terms. At about the 5:15 mark, Singleton calls out Ganahl on her claims that she can cut government waste:

SINGLETON: As long as I’ve been an adult and been in the newspaper business, I’ve heard politicians say they’re going to solve all of our problems by cutting out waste. But none of them ever have…

 

GANAHL: Well, they don’t do it [nervous laughter]

 

SINGLETON: Well, nobody ever has. How do you think YOU’RE going to do that? 

 

GANAHL: Well, in my first weeks as governor, I’m going to hire a special audit committee to come in and look at all of the budget, provide transparency, because as a Regent at the University of Colorado, I oversee a $5 billion dollar budget, as a Regent there. I have had a terrible time getting real numbers about how the money is spent, what the return on investment is, the dollars that we are spending. It’s been like pulling teeth to get actual numbers…

Immediately after saying that she has had a hard time finding accurate numbers about the state budget, Ganahl rattles off a bunch of numbers about the state budget:

GANAHL: Right now we are about to spend, oh, I don’t know, several billion dollars – if you look at the numbers, it varies, but about $8 billion dollars on K-12 [education]. And 60% of our students can’t read, write, or do math at grade level. That is terrible.

Singleton is clearly getting sick of Ganahl’s fakery. At about the 7:15 mark, he takes another swing:

SINGLETON: Do you actually believe the voters will believe that you can cut the state income tax – end the state income tax – and cut the gasoline tax in half? You think voters will actually believe that?

 

GANAHL: Well, they believe it because we can. I have economists helping me figure this out. We’ve got to reduce our spending, you guys. Are you getting twice the amount of services from the government in the last 10 years? Is $40 billion dollars the right number to spend on running our state? That’s ridiculous. We can cut spending, we can still provide services that we should provide to the people of Colorado. And part of that problem is [Senate Bill] 260 that passed a couple of years ago. It’s a boondoggle…

Ganahl rambles for awhile and switches to talking about increasing oil and gas production in Colorado. This opens the door to Singleton’s next question, at about the 9:16 mark:

SINGLETON: But if you cut the gasoline tax in half, how are you going to fund improving the highways?

 

GANAHL: I’ve laid out a transportation plan to do just that. [Editor’s note: Yeah, not so much] What I believe we need is transparency with the voters. They’re dying to have somebody to just be honest with them and tell them the truth. What I did is I put together a plan that takes the taxes that have already been put through and puts it back to the voters – a lot of those are fees – let’s go back to the voters and say, ‘Here are specific projects.’ And I worked with transportation experts all over Colorado to put this together. It’s equitable. It’s rural Colorado. It’s the Front Range. It’s all of it. And let’s do those specific projects – I’m not going to change anything on you – and then, let’s sunset it. So, in 10 years, you’ll know that we’ve done our job. And if we haven’t, you can hold the legislature responsible and me responsible for not [sic]. And every year the legislature is going to have to kick in some, and so is private industry. But there is a desire to fix the darn roads in our state. 

Roughly halfway through Ganahl’s time on stage (at about 12:30), Singleton comes back to his original question:

SINGLETON: Okay, I don’t want to belabor it, but you still haven’t told us how you are going to run the government with no state income tax and with half of the gasoline tax. It makes a good soundbyte, but for most of us who understand state government, it’s just total bullshit. So, tell me why I’m wrong.

 

GANAHL: Well, a lot of people across Colorado think the government is just total bullshit right now, Dean. I’m just saying…

 

SINGLETON: Yeah, but you’ve still gotta…you just can’t say it in the campaign…

 

GANAHL: I just explained to you how we’re going to do it. [Editor’s note: Nope] We’re going to refill the coffers with new business and industry like they’ve done in the eight other – soon to be nine other – zero income tax states. We are going to cut fraud and waste. We are going to stop special tax exemptions. We are going to call fees what they are – taxes – and move them to the General Fund. There’s a lot of ways we can chip away at this over eight years. We’ve got a good plan, and we’re posting it on the website today with more detail. I feel very confident that we can do this. You know, I’ve been told my whole life, ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that,’

Here Ganahl goes to the always-weak I’ve always had doubters argument:

GANAHL: If you guys don’t believe me…watch us.

 

SINGLETON: Don’t you think they are going to be sick and tired when there are no services here?

 

GANAHL: That’s not the case.

 

SINGLETON: I mean, people didn’t move to Mississippi. They moved to Colorado.

 

GANAHL: Dean, I’m doing what the voters of Colorado are asking me to do. I have been on the ground for six years…

The voters of Colorado have asked you to decimate the entire state? Seems unlikely.

We are all Dean Singleton

By about the 16:27 mark, Ganahl has clearly lost not only Singleton, but the entire room:

SINGLETON: What would you do to fix crime?

 

GANAHL: Oh, I have a list. Okay, my dad’s a police officer. He’s here…

 

SINGLETON: …Yeah, knowing that you’re not going to have any money to do it. But what would you do to fix it?

 

[LAUGHTER IN THE ROOM]

 

GANAHL: I keep explaining how this is going to work. Can you just assume that my plan is going to work?

 

SINGLETON: That’s a pretty big assumption to make.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

GANAHL: Okay, well go with it [nervous chuckle]

 

SINGLETON: I don’t think anybody in this room believes that, but if you do…keep saying it.

 

And this is the exact moment in which Heidi Ganahl finally realized that you can’t bullshit your way through a campaign for Governor. Welcome to the end of the worst campaign in Colorado history.

S Zv

26 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    And Nutlid will come on here insisting that we give her a participation trophy.  

  2. JeffcoDemo says:

    Did Dean forget who he works for? Grow a conscious in his waning years? Did he not get the memo? Are we seeing somewhat rational men realize what they created and are having buyers remorse?

  3. Genghis says:

    "I have some great economists helping me figure this out."

    Is this the Hiedi equivalent of "I'm clueless, but don't worry; I'll have Jews for the money stuff"?

  4. Tazistan Jen says:

    I especially like where you call fees taxes and that means you have more revenue

  5. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Sam Brownback tried this "eliminate most taxes gig" when he was governor of Kansas a few years ago. Intelligent Colorado voters know how that turned out.

  6. davebarnes says:

    When Dean Singleton says: "bullshit", you done lost him.

  7. JohnInDenver says:

    re: "I have some great economists helping me figure this out."

    Inquiring people might like to know:

    1.  Can we get a name? or several names?

    2.  Did you save the napkin they used to sketch out the plan?

    3.  What does she do when at least ONE chamber of the legislature won't pass any of her legislation?  Does she hold her breath and veto every spending and taxation bill until she turns blue?

     

  8. Powerful Pear says:

    Can we talk? I know of no GOP Governor candidate that can beat Polis. I guess she got the nomination because she is cute with the ability to generate campaign funds no matter how insufficient the needed amount.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Beating Polis would have been an uphill fight … but Ganahl appears to be

       * blowing up her possibilities for a future run against whoever is going to be the Democrat's replacement for termed-out Polis in 2026, Hickenlooper or candidate D for Senate in 2026, or a run for US Rep. 

       * not helping the R brand and R candidates in other races in 2022. Nothing to rally around.  I don't read much about state house and senate races, and R candidates for state offices have been nearly invisible here in deep blue Denver.  The little I've seen has people standing together in the same room … but not all talking about their role in supporting some common theme.  Is anyone else talking about eliminating the income tax? pointing to massive waste that could be eliminated?

  9. Meiner49er says:

    This is like putting a torpedo in the Titanic. Ganah'ls ship was already taking on water but no matter. Ganahl is playing for a spot in the Trump 2024 and was never serious about beating Polis.

  10. Republican 36 says:

    Ms. Ganahl’s plan to eliminate the revenue from the income tax and half of the same from the gas tax is the same nonsense Ronald Reagan sold the public in 1980 and Gov. Brownback sold the people of Kansas when he ran for governor. 

    In Reagan’s case, he kept his campaign promise to cut corporate and personal income taxes by 25% but when it came to reducing the budget by an equal amount (another campaign promise), his budget included footnotes for the cuts that read “To be determined” (TBD). He never, in eight years as president, proposed a comprehensive set of budget reductions because, I suspect, such cuts would have been politically unpopular. After the 1981 tax cuts, the annual deficit soared to $350 billion. Since the federal government can rely on deficit spending, programs continued to be funded and the notion of cutting spending faded from the policy discussion. Supply side economics was a failure.

    Gov. Brownback tried the same tax cut policy in Kansas but with the very important caveat that he was legally required to balance the annual state budget. After he cut taxes, many state services suffered drastic cuts, including K-12 education. Local governments had to increase property taxes to keep the schools open. Eventually, toward the end of his second term, even the Republican legislators, who were in the majority in both houses, rebelled and restored some of the state taxes. In response, Brownback took, what can only be characterized as an absurd position, that the only thing wrong was taxes had not been cut enough.

    Ms. Ganahl is now attempting to foist the same nonsensical policy on Colorado voters. She refuses to give us the details because she does not have them and even if she tried to explain her proposed tax cuts in detail, they would not add up. Before the Colorado Concern audience she asserted there are billions of dollars of “waste, fraud, and abuse” (WFA). Since she knows that, then she can specifically identify where those items exist in the present state budget. Her statement that she has a group of economists working on this means one thing only – she doesn’t have a clue how much WFA is in the budget. Looking back over the past forty years, she should know better than to take such an unfounded position, one that history has proven not only does not work but is a discredited theory. In short, we have tried it and it does not work. We all know what Albert Einstein said about trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results.       

  11. Lauren Boebert is a Worthless POS says:

    This is what happened when the new British prime minister tried a knock-off version of Heidi Ganahl's tax cut scheme:

    Tories facing ‘wipe-out’ as new poll gives Labour 25-point lead after disastrous mini-Budget (msn.com)

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