UPDATE: Heidi Ganahl…quintuples down? Sextuples down? It defies comprehension:
🐱: In response to her claims that kids are identifying as cats in Colorado schools, @heidiganahl issued a statement to @KRDONC13, saying parents, teachers, and students know what is happening, not legislators, lazy members of the media, or Governor Jared Polis. #copolitics https://t.co/RXAB8G6ErS pic.twitter.com/NgxsM00yVC
— Spencer Soicher KRDO (@spencersoicher) October 3, 2022
Meanwhile, 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark helpfully recaps the recent history of the nationwide conservative “furry panic” that seems to have swept the nation since the spring, discredited at every stop but simply making its way to the next locale like a bad carnival.
The one thing we can promise is that in Colorado, this nuttery has a hard stop coming on November 8th.
At what point do Colorado Republicans abandon gubernatorial candidate
Hiedi Heidi Ganahl altogether?
Mail ballots will be going out to voters in 14 days. Election Day is just 36 days from today.
Heidi Ganahl is NOT going to be elected Governor in Colorado. The latest polling has her trailing Democratic Gov. Jared Polis by 17 points, and national forecasters are moving Colorado’s race for Governor into the “SAFE DEM” category. Polis could be hit by a bus three or four different times and Ganahl still wouldn’t be able to pull ahead of the incumbent with a campaign that has no money, no coherent message, and is now just being openly ridiculed across the board.
The really bad news for Colorado Republicans is that there are still 36 days for Ganahl’s campaign to cause lasting political damage to anyone who remains associated with this epic disaster. We wrote on Friday about how Ganahl completely fell apart at a candidate forum amid questioning from Denver Post publisher Dean Singleton. Somehow, against all odds, Ganahl’s campaign got even worse over the next couple of days.
Remember, everything you read below has taken place in just the last couple of days…
The Great Furry-Lago Conspiracy
Perhaps you prefer “Furrygate?” Ganahl’s bizarre furry conspiracy comments from a week ago have turned into a full-blown circus. Just since Friday it has come out that Ganahl
doubled down tripled down quadrupled down on her claims that “furries” are running amok in schools throughout Colorado.
Fox 31 published a story about Furry-Lago that included multiple mentions of the fact that this nonsense has been REPEATEDLY debunked:
“I just heard from over 100 parents identifying 30 different schools that this is happening. Jefferson County, there’s a lot of this going on,” said Ganahl…
…FOX31 asked Jeffco Public Schools for comment, and a spokesperson said “there is absolutely no truth to this claim.”
“There are no litter boxes in our buildings and students are not allowed to come to school in costume. There are no furries or students identifying as such during the school day,” a statement from the district said.
The claim that students identify as furries has been spreading across the country for several months. A fact check by Reuters in July determined there was “no evidence that U.S. schoolchildren are self-identifying as animals and disrupting classrooms.”
In April, The Associated Press did a fact check against a claim from Wisconsin that one district there had a “furry protocol.” The AP found this claim to be “completely false.”
Spencer Soicher of KRDO in Colorado Springs also revealed on Friday that he had conducted an interview with Ganahl in which he specifically asked about her furry conspiracy claims:
— Spencer Soicher KRDO (@spencersoicher) October 1, 2022
“We have all the parents across the Denver Metro area sending emails and examples to the reporter who wrote that story and the other reporters who are interested,” said Ganahl. Of course, Ganahl didn’t actually share any of that proof with Fox 31 or KRDO.
Just last night (Oct. 2), Ganahl participated in a hastily-called livestream event with creepy lighting in which she joined running mate Danny
Clark Moore and a local Jefferson County conspiracy nut named Lindsay Datko in which they went into great detail — again, sans proof — about the Furry-Lago nonsense:
Coloradans will begin voting in about two weeks, and THIS is what Ganahl is doing to close out her campaign for Governor. Maybe we’ve got this all wrong and there are dozens more furry conspiracists in Colorado who haven’t yet decided to vote for Ganahl.
Ganahl and Danny
Ganahl’s campaign sent out a press release today announcing a town hall event in El Paso County that will feature both Ganahl AND “Lieutenant Gubernatorial Nominee Danny Clark.”
Ganahl’s running mate is actually named Danny Moore…unless she chose someone else over the weekend and didn’t alert anyone (which would not surprise anybody at this point).
Yet Another Disastrous Interview
This interview took place the day before Ganahl was drubbed by Dean Singleton, which means she had a full day to learn from her mistakes before she went on stage at Friday’s candidate forum. And there were a LOT of mistakes. Let’s look at a couple of excerpts from her interview with Warner.
First up, Warner asks Ganahl for specific examples about her talking point that Gov. Polis has exacerbated inflation concerns. One of Ganahl’s examples quite literally cannot be true because IT HASN’T HAPPENED YET:
Warner: You’ve cited red tape and regulations which are kind of easy to point to as a generic bundle. Give me an example of something you would change as governor in that arena.
Ganahl: I think that we’ve got to give more freedom and leeway to small business owners to make decisions about how to best compensate their employees and take care of their business.
As an example, there are some pretty aggressive programs that are being implemented for small business owners like the Family Leave Program, which they have great intentions. As a business owner and a CEO, I’ve always made sure family leave is a big part of what we offer employees, but to decide for the employer how that should be implemented, I’m not sure I would agree with that.
Also, the unemployment insurance fraud that went on during COVID is hitting small business owners in their pocketbooks because their rates are going up a lot. When we got the COVID dollars, we didn’t refill that fraud as much as we should have. And so rates are going to go up.
Also, property insurance is going up. The competition for space is going up, so rent is also very expensive right now for small business owners. The list goes on and on.
Warner: Family leave has not taken effect yet. So you’re pointing to something that can’t have influenced inflation yet? [Pols emphasis]
Ganahl: Well it will and you asked how I would address inflation as governor. [Pols emphasis]
Immediately after the above exchange, Warner points out another problem with Ganahl’s rhetoric:
Warner: This is a fee that was just imposed on deliveries, the idea is to pay for infrastructure. You talked about the competition for business space. Aren’t we seeing vast empty office space? That doesn’t jibe with what I understand the market to be.
Ganahl: No, that’s not at all what I’m hearing right now. It’s very difficult to be able to afford space right now. Prices have gone up dramatically. There may be more open space, but …
Warner: There definitely is.
Ganahl: But it doesn’t mean they’re reducing the prices because they’re paying higher property taxes, insurance fees and generally the rate of inflation is affecting the rate of rent and the ability to do business.
Warner points out that there is a lot of empty office space in Colorado, which anybody with working eyeballs can see for themselves. Ganahl disputes this, saying “that’s not what I’m hearing.”
Later, Warner asks Ganahl to provide more details about her silly proposal to end the income tax in Colorado and halve the gas tax — which would create a massive $11 billion hole in the state budget. This is the same conversation that had the room laughing out loud (at Ganahl) when she was repeatedly questioned by Singleton on Friday.
Here’s the exchange with Warner after Ganahl mentions some vague examples of how she could fill that $11 billion “Heidi Hole”:
Warner: That doesn’t get you close to $11 billion, right?
Ganahl: I’m still going. We’ve got a lot of special exemptions we can stop doing going forward. I’m not going to say I’m going to take them away from current companies.
Warner: Name one.
Ganahl: I don’t have one handy right now. I’ll get back to you.
Whaaaaaa??? It’s freaking October, and you STILL don’t have a single example that is top of mind that you can relay to a reporter asking very obvious questions about your laughably-vague policy ideas? When are you going to get around to learning about your own proposal, Heidi?
The conversation then moves on to Ganahl’s transportation “plan” (which is not really a plan at all). Ganahl’s response is just dumb:
Warner: Let’s talk about your transportation plan. Infrastructure here is funded largely through the gas tax and a bevy of fees. My understanding is that you want to convert those fees into taxes that would require voter approval. So would that be an increase overall in revenue or just like a wash?
Ganahl: It’s a wash, but it’s calling out fees to be taxes, which they are. It’s taking the pot of money and actually increasing it through bringing in private investment and some matches in the general fund over 10 years, but we’re going to sunset it after 10 years.
Ganahl admits that converting “fees” into “taxes” — basically just changing the name of the line-item in the budget — would do nothing at all to change the amount of money available in the state budget…but then she says that she would create MORE money out of thin air. Maybe she is counting on finding a magic lamp somewhere.
Later, Ganahl goes back to a response that she has been relying on more and more lately — refuting or supporting arguments by claiming that her unnamed “experts” are telling her something different than what everyone else understands:
Warner: You talked about being stuck in traffic as contributing to ozone and to climate change but building out lanes – you build it and they will come and it just means that there’s often more traffic. It may make a dent for a little while, but aren’t you contributing to the very problem you’re trying to solve?
Ganahl: My transportation experts don’t believe that. [Pols emphasis] We’ve got to fix the roads we have and make them more efficient and easier for people to get across our state. That’s the intention of that transportation plan I’m proposing.
What are the odds that Heidi’s “transportation experts” are also her “furries in schools” experts? We’d say 50-50.
Warner then asks Ganahl about her claims that Polis is somehow responsible for a 50+ cent increase in gas prices because he didn’t “submit the science,” whatever that means. Because Warner is a great interviewer and a responsible journalist, he has actually done some research on these topics.
Warner: The EPA, by the way, estimates it’s 3 cents per gallon.
Ganahl: They are not correct. [Pols emphasis] They are not being honest and real with the people of Colorado. We have lots of experts who are saying that’s not accurate.
The Environmental Protection Agency is wrong; Heidi Ganahl is correct. Sure. Whatever.
And what about the fact that Ganahl owns a Tesla but criticizes electric cars?
Warner: The major automakers are all-in on electric vehicles. GM’s goal is that its new vehicles will be electric by 2035. Ford says 40 to 50 percent of its new models will be electric by the end of this decade. I understand you drive a Tesla. Aren’t you proof that adoption is occurring?
Ganahl: I also have a Chevy Express van with 140,000 miles on it that I drive my kids around mostly.
But I also have another car! Neat!
The conversation moves along to affordable housing, and once again Ganahl’s nebulous “experts” make an appearance:
Warner: When we spoke with you before the primary, you cited regulations as a big driver of what it costs to build a home. I wonder, these months later, if you could name a regulation or aspect of code you’d like to remove to make that cheaper?
Ganahl: It’s not necessarily the governor’s job to change the codes. Those are mostly local, but the governor’s job is to be inspirational and be a leader, have big bold ideas about how we can transform housing in Colorado, how I can encourage local municipalities to make it easier to develop affordable housing.
Warner: Give me an example of how you would encourage a municipality to do that.
Ganahl: We could bring some experts here to show how other cities have transformed malls, older malls or retail centers into housing developments.
It’s not the job of the Governor to DO things, Ryan. It’s the job of the Governor to bring in experts to do things while cheering them on from the sidelines.
Warner is confused by this, naturally:
Warner: I hear in all of these specific examples of what you’d like to see. I’m a little unclear on what it means for a governor to inspire. Help me understand that. This is an intractable problem and I think there are people who are hungry for specific solutions.
Ganahl: As an example, several leaders just went from Colorado to Houston to see the homeless problem. They’re trying to find solutions that work around the country and as the governor of Colorado, it’s my job to inspire people to think outside of the box, look at different ways to solve problems. I’m a problem solver. That’s what I’ve done my whole life. And I do big things.
I do big things. I don’t understand any of them, but they’re really very big.
Warner later asks Ganahl to provide an example of how she will improve mental health services while also shrinking state government. Ganahl, of course, does not provide anything even close to an “example.”
Eventually the conversation veers closer to Furry-Lago, which gives Ganahl ample opportunity to pretend to be a victim of simple questions:
Warner: You know, one of the highest youth suicide rates is among trans youth.
Warner: But you’ve really kind of villainized them in this campaign. [Pols emphasis]
Ganahl: Oh, my goodness, not at all. I have so much compassion, if you’re talking about trans children or grown ups, whatever. I care so much for all children and I have so much compassion for children who are … [Pols emphasis]
Ganahl: No, I didn’t. Nine PAC is a federal PAC. I spoke at the event about the struggles that a mom was dealing with whose daughter was assigned to a roommate that the school didn’t tell her but was a biological male. And she found out only through a text from the person at the last minute. She didn’t feel comfortable with that. And she was shocked that the school hadn’t been forward about it and they’re actually …
Warner: You say biological male, that’s a trans person.
Ganahl: Well, we’ve got to also respect young women’s ability to feel safe and comfortable in situations too, biological women’s ability to do that. This is all new stuff to a lot of people. We’ve got to work through it. We’ve got to be able to have brave conversations about it.
To just label someone anti-trans or that the whole Republican Party is like that, that’s not accurate at all. That’s not accurate and it’s not helpful to the kids who are dealing with these situations. And guess what, we worked through it. The daughter and the young person who is trans are friends now. They’re good friends. And it just took some conversations and getting comfortable with the situation. So you guys in the media have to stop this.
If you ever happen to play poker with Ganahl, know that “Oh my goodness” is her tell that she is NOT happy about where the conversation is headed. She’s said the same thing, for example, when responding to questions about election deniers.
Ganahl is also adding a new layer to a story about a transgender student at the University of Colorado that she almost certainly invented out of whole cloth in order to impress supporters of a new hate group.
As the CPR interview continues, Ganahl lies about her running mate’s well-documented history as an election denier; she dances around questions about her relationship with former CU visiting “scholar” John Eastman; and she answers a question about water policy by citing 27 unnamed “water leaders” advising her campaign.
That Radioactive Glow
After more news came out on Friday about Ganahl’s Furry-Lago conspiracy, a handful of well-known Republicans tried limply to come to her defense on social media. But as we wrote at the beginning of this post, how much longer will Colorado Republicans risk irreparable harm to their own reputations by standing up for a candidate who clearly has no idea what she is doing and appears to be completely bonkers?
Do they think they can earn a chit from someone who can’t even remember the name of her running mate?
Keep in mind that there are still several more gubernatorial candidate forums scheduled in the coming weeks; Ganahl has ample opportunities to barf out all of the other ridiculous nonsense that right-wing trolls have convinced her to be true. This WILL get worse before it gets better.
The only Colorado Republican who should be happy with Ganahl’s campaign is Bob Beauprez…and only because he is no longer the owner of the worst major campaign in Colorado history.