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October 28, 2022 11:24 am MST

Heidi Ganahl and Friends are Rickrolling Colorado Republicans

  • by: Colorado Pols

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

We’ve known each other for so long
Your heart’s been aching, but you’re too shy to say it (say it)
Inside, we both know what’s been going on (going on)
We know the game and we’re gonna play it

Rick Astley, “Never Gonna Give You Up”

September 24, 2022

Those lyrics from the “iconic” 1987 ballad from Rick Astley were probably not intended as a love song to the Furry-Lago conspiracy movement that popped up in Colorado this fall, but you can’t argue that they don’t fit perfectly.

It has now been 34 days since Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl first told Jimmy Sengenberger of KNUS radio that Colorado schools had been invaded by “furries” — children dressed up in animal costumes. While Ganahl herself has largely stopped her daily furry conspiracy routine, the story lives on in the right-wing media landscape.

Today, it is the national publication The Federalist that has decided it is “never gonna give [furries] up.” The rhetorical gymnastics required to make this sound like a serious story are almost impressive. As the suspiciously-named Tristan Justice reports:

A Colorado school district in the wealthy western suburbs of Denver gave a blanket statement to the local press dismissing parental concerns about an issue that’s galvanized the state’s contest for governor. [Pols emphasis]

In September, Heidi Ganahl, the Republican candidate for governor, gave an interview to a local radio host in which she described a new phenomenon hitting Colorado classrooms.

“Not many people know that we have ‘furries’ in Colorado schools,” Ganahl told 710KNUS. “Have you heard about this? Yeah, kids identifying as cats. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it’s happening all over Colorado and the schools are tolerating it.”

Without any evidence, either from school officials or interviews with parents, the left-wing Colorado Times Recorder wrote off the comments as a conspiracy. [Pols emphasis]

Via The Federalist (10/28/22)

We have to stop here before we delve any further into this story. First off, the idea that Furry-Lago has “galvanized” Ganahl’s campaign only makes sense if you have a completely different understanding of the word “galvanized” than everyone else who regularly uses the English language. The “furries” conspiracy has decimated Ganahl’s credibility not just as a candidate, but as a sane human being in general. That fact that Ganahl herself no longer mentions this subject unprompted is an undeniable argument otherwise.

The last paragraph above is particularly absurd, but it also inadvertently speaks to the very problem here. Tristan Justice (seriously, is that really his name?) argues that the Colorado Times Recorder labeled this a silly conspiracy theory “without evidence.” The burden of proof here is on the people who are promoting the idea in the first place — it is not the responsibility of EVERYONE ELSE to come up with evidence that your insane idea is wrong.

For example, if someone says, “I invented a perpetual motion machine,” then it is the responsibility of THAT PERSON to provide proof of their invention. If that person’s response was, “You can’t prove that I didn’t invent a perpetual motion machine,” then they would rightly be disregarded as a lunatic. Demanding that someone else prove a negative is the “Scientific Method” on meth.

The rest of the Federalist story is dedicated to arguing that a handful of parents who have complained about “furries” — without providing any evidence — are actually the people who are correct and that it is the 99% of the population who think they are crazy who are involved in a broader conspiracy to keep it all under wraps. Occam’s Razor was practically created to address this very scenario.

Lindsay Datko, right, with GOP consultant Matt Connelly

Essentially, the point of the Federalist story is to use the same CORA’d emails promoted by nutjobs like Lindsay Datko at Jeffco Kids First to argue that “furries” must exist in schools BECAUSE there are a handful of parents who have complained about it to school administrators. Seriously, THAT is the argument. In other words, if you can convince a dozen people to write an email to a school administrator that Elvis Presley and Tupac are substitute teachers, then it must be true. God help the children of these parents should their families ever decide to start a home schooling curriculum.

The Federalist story also brings up the mythical photographic evidence of furries that Ganahl once claimed that her campaign was collecting. In early October, Ganahl told George Brauchler of KNUS radio that her campaign “provided a list of 30 schools [in which] parents and students have told us this is happening. We’ve provided pictures, but we’ve blurred out the faces.” None of these photos have ever emerged, anywhere (and no reporter in Colorado has ever acknowledged receiving the images) but stories about their existence just won’t go away. From the Federalist:

On Wednesday, a group of parents who met at a local coffee shop presented pictures of students dressed up as animals in local schools to The Federalist. The images were shared on the condition they not be published to protect the privacy of minors. [Pols emphasis]

“The word ‘furries’ is what the kids call them, which is why parents call them that,” explained Lindsay Datko, a co-founder of Jeffco Kids First.

As you may recall, the only photographic “evidence” that has ever been provided as proof of this “furry” epidemic came after 9News questioned the Ganahl campaign in late September and received this photo in response:

This was the original “proof” of “furries” in Colorado schools that the Ganahl campaign provided to 9News.


This picture is indeed evidence of the existence of animal costumes. It is not, however, proof that children are wearing these costumes in schools.

Anyway, the fact that Furry-Lago continues to be discussed as a serious issue by national right-wing news outlets underscores just how toxic Ganahl has become for Colorado Republicans. Here’s what Kyle Clark of 9News told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on Todd’s podcast earlier this week:

CHUCK TODD: If Joe O’Dea were the Republican nominee for Governor, would he be more competitive?

KYLE CLARK: To be honest with you Chuck, pretty much anybody would be more competitive. The governor’s race as it has been run by Heidi Ganahl has been baffling to observers. And if you talk to Republicans privately, they will express frustration bordering on anger, because they feel like this could have been an opportunity to make that race a lot more competitive…but if that race had been close, as opposed to the 15, 16, 18 point margin the polls are showing, that would have helped O’Dea. That would have helped Barb Kirkmeyer in CD-8.

But the Ganahl campaign has honestly been – they’ve chased one conspiracy theory after another, as opposed to focusing on crime, inflation, [and] the issues that could help. [Pols emphasis]

TODD: If Republicans lose close races all over the state, that’s where the finger pointing is going to be?

CLARK: Without question.

TODD: Interesting

Republican Joe O’Dea is not going to beat Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, and he certainly would not have ousted incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, but Clark is correct in saying that Republicans have every right to be pointing fingers at Ganahl’s radioactive campaign for weakening Republican candidates down-ballot.

In 2018, Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton was a bad candidate running a bad campaign who lost by 11 points to Polis…but he didn’t cripple the rest of the GOP ticket along the way. Stapleton didn’t hijack the Republican message in the final weeks of the election by distracting everyone with nonsense conspiracy theories.

Beginning on November 9th, Colorado Republicans should immediately disassociate themselves with anyone even remotely connected with Ganahl — starting with the people who continued to promote her candidacy long after she had become a national embarrassment.

What they’ll probably do instead is elect Ganahl to be the chairperson of the Colorado Republican Party for the 2024 election cycle.

“Never gonna give you up”…


6 thoughts on “Heidi Ganahl and Friends are Rickrolling Colorado Republicans

  1. Republicans are targeting a shrinking group of parents with a Virginia playbook here in Colorado. 

    CRT is code for nigger and Furry is code for fag but its not even cloaked at this point.

    Colorado parents don't seem to blame niggers and fags for real issues in schools such as reading proficiency. They also don't seemed enthused about Republican solutions like banning books. Rather than be offended by the idea of Polis electric school busses they see it as a wise move in application. 

    Heidi only highlights it because she has nothing other than "education" as the only statewide elected Republican to a nebulous concept of leadership. 

    On all the issues in Colorado, Democrats are more trusted. If only because Republicans actual plans have been so nakedly projected upon Heidi as an empty vessel. 

  2. Has our retired Senator from Wray weighed in yet whether she, too, is a friend and very good person? Or is that position just used in instances where he can back a plausible winner?

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