Jared Polis picks two women to lead his campaign for Colorado governor

Author: Peter Marcus - July 31, 2017 - Updated: December 28, 2017

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., looks on during the Colorado Democratic Party’s State Assembly in Denver on Saturday, April 12, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis announced that two women will lead the management of his campaign.

Jenn Ridder, a well-known operative within Democratic circles, will take the position of campaign manager, and Lisa Kaufmann, a long-time Polis staffer who ascended to chief of staff, will assume the role of chair of the campaign.

Ridder, a Colorado native, previously worked with Democratic congressional campaigns across Colorado as the Mountain West political director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC.

Ridder also served as the political director for President Obama’s re-election campaign in Colorado and served as deputy campaign manager for former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, who lost re-election in 2014.

“As a tech entrepreneur, businessman, and community leader, Jared’s a progressive who gets things done,” Ridder said. “Colorado needs that now more than ever, which is why I’m excited to work with him as he continues to fight for Colorado families.”

Kaufmann will leave Polis’ congressional staff to serve full-time for the campaign. She has previously worked in several positions on Polis’ staff during her 10-year tenure with the congressman. She served as a personal assistant, campaign manager, and chief of staff.

“It’s a blessing to have the opportunity to continue to work with a principled leader who has a bold vision for the future of the state I love,”  Kaufmann said.

“I am excited to have Lisa and Jenn at the top of my leadership team as our people-powered, grassroots campaign continues to grow,” Polis added in a statement. “Together we will bring a bold vision for Colorado’s future to deliver real results Coloradans deserve on 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, free preschool and kindergarten statewide, and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”

The already crowded Democratic race for Colorado governor took a turn earlier this month when U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Arvada dropped out. Perlmutter was believed to be the front-runner. His departure presented a clearer path for Polis.

Also in the race are former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy of Denver, former state Sen. Mike Johnston of Denver and Denver civics leader Noel Ginsburg. Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne is seriously considering jumping into the race, which could shake it up again.

Polis, a a 42-year-old millionaire from Boulder, has a financial advantage in the race, but some political analysts question his ability to win a statewide election, as he tends to lean further to the left in a middle-of-the-road state.

The Republican field for governor has been slower to grow. District Attorney George Brauchler, entrepreneur and former state Rep. Victor Mitchell, and investment banker Doug Robinson, who also happens to be Mitt Romney’s nephew, currently dominate the race.

But more high-profile Republican names are expected to enter the primary, including State Treasurer Walker Stapleton. Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is also seriously considering a run on the Republican ticket.

Peter Marcus

Peter Marcus

Peter Marcus is senior statehouse reporter for Colorado Politics. He covers the legislature and previously covered politics, the governor’s office, the legislature and Congress for The Durango Herald. He joined The Herald in 2014 from The Colorado Statesman, a Denver-based political weekly. The Washington Post twice named Marcus one of the nation’s top state-based political and legislative reporters.


  • Pundit Pete

    August 1, 2017 at 5:52 am

    Glad to see Polis spouting typical Progressive nonsense right out of the gate.

    1) “Coloradans deserve 100% renewable energy by 2040” – now that utopian dream will certainly help our energy economy, produce many jobs in rural Colorado, and keep energy costs down for poor people – yep.

    2) “free preschool and kindergarten statewide” – as if free were really free, but hey, what better way to indoctrinate kids with progressive economic nonsense like #1 above than to start them earlier? Plus, that one guarantees the vote and money from the powerful teachers unions.

    3) “an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top” – yep, just as “income inequality” increased during the Obama years, why not double down, and force progressive “government solutions” on the good people of Colorado? Maybe we can become the “California” of the mountain west. Good ‘ole Jared hails from Boulder County, the poster child for affordable housing.

    Wake up Colorado, Jared Polis (and most other Democrats) aren’t interested in promoting your economic opportunities, just those at the top like him and the bureaucrats who will be hired to oversee your lives.

    And, he didn’t even get to the social engineering he has in mind.

    • Meremark

      August 2, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      That comment represents CO’s “middle-of-the-road” status from which Polis is to the left?

      Heck, Hee-Haw is left of that stuff.

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