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More Colorado newspapers make endorsements in governor’s race

Author: Joey Bunch - October 29, 2018 - Updated: October 31, 2018

From left: Colorado gubernatorial candidates Walker Stapleton, Republican, and Jared Polis, Democrat, debated at the Penrose House in Colorado Springs on Oct. 13. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

More newspaper endorsements are out in the governor’s race. Democrat Jared Polis maintains an endorsement edge over Republican Walker Stapleton among major newspapers as Coloradans are still mailing in ballots for the Nov. 6 count.

> RELATED: Election Preview 2018 | Governor’s race comes down to money, message and momentum

The freshest batch of picks are:

The Aspen Times: Polis

The Roaring Fork Valley’s newspaper said Polis will bring “forward-thinking change” back to Colorado after his time as a congressman and found him well-versed on the issues facing Colorado.

“He certainly will put a team around him that will help hear all the voices in our state before making decisions that will affect all of us,” the paper wrote in its endorsement.

“Walker Stapleton’s glowing acceptance of Trump’s endorsement and Stapleton’s questionable ad campaigns are bothersome, to say the least. Do we acknowledge the attack ad on Polis and the police report? Yes. But that is an example of what we see as divisive in politics and a root of the problem. As is the same with his claims about Polis not paying taxes, which fact-checkers around the state found to be false or misleading.”

Read the endorsement by clicking here.

The Salida Mountain Mail: Stapleton

The Chaffee County paper called Stapleton a moderate with practical ideas.

“He would have state economic development officials work to bring jobs to areas outside of Front Range cities and would promote broadband development in rural areas to further encourage telecommuting,” the paper opines.

“Mr. Stapleton is a strong supporter of the state’s coal, oil and gas industries while encouraging longer-term alternative energy sources. He has taken the time to learn about and address issues critical to rural Colorado.”

Read the endorsement by clicking here.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: Stapleton

The West Slope newspaper chose the Republican state treasurer, but not without a wagging a finger at Stapleton for how he’s campaigned.

“It’s unfortunate Republican Walker Stapleton has tried so hard to portray Democrat Jared Polis as an extreme liberal rather than touting his own moderate credentials or his ability to work with a Democratic governor to achieve a strong economy,” the Daily Sentinel said of the working relationship between Stapleton as treasurer and the Democrat currently in the governor’s office, John Hickenlooper.

“There’s a whiff of desperation in constantly attacking Polis, who has done an admirable job of distancing himself from his anti-fracking past and branding himself as a pro-education health reformer.”

Read the paper’s full editorial by clicking here.

Colorado Springs Independent: Polis

The alternative paper said its choice was clear when it picked the Democrat.

“He does have at least a rough fiscal roadmap in place now, such as prioritizing the program for general fund dollars, tapping available legacy dollars, and looking for private-public partnerships,” the Independent said of Polis.

On the other hand: “Stapleton, meanwhile, raised red flags early on by courting the Trump trumpet and now by espousing the president’s nationalistic agenda.”

Read the endorsement by clicking here.

Greeley Tribune: Stapleton

The Greeley Tribune recommended Stapleton, but urged him to govern as a man of all the people, and not just those who he agrees with politically; the Eastern Plains paper urged him to find compromises and solutions.

“We’d like to see him go beyond his campaign rhetoric and govern as a leader for our entire state,” stated the editorial board.

The Tribune likes Stapleton’s views on fiscal responsibility in dealing with roads, affordable housing, health care and public employees’ pensions.

“Stapleton’s answers involve making intelligent investments in core functions of government and clearing the way for the private sector everywhere else,” stated the Tribune. “We think that’s the right approach for residents in Greeley, Evans and Windsor.”

Read the entire endorsement by clicking here.

Boulder Weekly: Polis

The Democrats’ hometown weekly went with the native son.

“We like that Polis will allow cities and counties to raise the minimum wage; that he’ll provide paid family medical leave; that he’ll encourage profit-sharing at Colorado companies; that he’ll pursue a Front Range rail; and that he’ll work to have Colorado run on 100 percent renewable energy by 2040,” the paper stated.

“When it comes down to it, there really is only one choice for governor. Though we’ve disagreed with Polis in the past (on trade and oil and gas regulation, for instance), and we disagree that he’s as progressive as Republican strategists and out-of-state media would have you believe, we do know he will pursue many objectives with which we agree. And, most importantly, he’s not Walker Stapleton.”

Read the endorsement by clicking here.

Here are the previous endorsements we told you about:

The Gazette in Colorado Springs: Stapleton

The Pikes Peak region’s paper of record called the Stapleton “a man with a proven, indisputable record of good results.”

The editorial board found that his record as state treasurer should his work for middle-class families and the working poor.

“Economically, Colorado consistently outperforms most other states,” according to The Gazette’s editorial board. “Stapleton’s stewardship of the treasury and defense of private-sector assets gets much of the credit.”

The paper lists his examples of “bold leadership,” fighting tax increases, calling out what he saw as misspending by the state, and raising the alarms that ultimately led to a fix in the state pension plan.

> RELATED: Election Preview 2018 | Colorado governor candidates on the issues

Of Polis, the editorial opined, “We could not make peace with his left-wing agenda, which most Colorado Democrats and independents would consider extreme if they scrutinized it.

“At the core of the Polis platform is socialized health care in the form of ‘Medicare-for-all.’ It is at least as bad as the socialized medicine proposal voters stomped like a cigarette butt in 2016.”

You can read the Gazette’s editorial by clicking here.

The Durango Herald: Stapleton

The southwest Colorado paper wasn’t totally sold on or totally against either candidate, but Stapleton has been right on state finances before and Polis talks a big game, deemed the Herald editorial.

“Stapleton also said that he could not think of anything that government could do better than the private sector,” the editorial said. “We are skeptical that this is the mindset of someone running for the state’s top job, but at the same time, he has been right to argue, as state treasurer, that the Public Employees Retirement Association [the state’s pension plan] is still setting its rate of market return unrealistically high.”

> RELATED: Election Preview 2018 | Q&A’s with the Colo. governor candidates

The Herald also was concerned about Polis spending so much of his personal fortune, eclipsing his competitors many times over, to win the office.

“He has spent more than $18 million of his own money to date in the general election, setting another record for big money in state politics,” the paper lamented. “But we would like to think our votes are not for sale – and neither is Colorado.”

You can read the Durango Herald’s full slate of endorsements by clicking here.

The Coloradoan of Fort Collins: Polis

The editorial board from the northern Front Range newspaper liked the Democrat’s big ideas and thought he might just accomplish them.

“We believe he has a solid shot at advancing his goals to the benefit of state residents because of his willingness to work with others, including Republicans in the state legislature, for the sake of the common good,” stated the Coloradoan.

“Polis has plans for how he would achieve some goals, such as establishing free full-day kindergarten across the state and finding ways to save Coloradans money on health care, early in his administration.”

Stapleton understands finances, the paper said, but “we don’t buy into his beliefs that dismantling Medicaid expansion and eliminating regulatory structures on business will advance the state.”

Read the Coloradoan’s full editorial by clicking here.


The Denver Post: Polis

The state’s largest newspaper pitched Polis to its readers a governor who is “thoughtful, innovative and has proved his mettle as a leader both in the business world and as a congressman for the past decade.”

The Post lauded his support for education; Polis started his political career as a member of the State Board of Education.

“He carried his education knowledge with him to Congress where he not only worked on fixing the No Child Left Behind Act, but was a member of the conference committee that negotiated the final bi-partisan Every Student Succeeds Act eventually signed by President Barack Obama,” stated the Post.

You can read the Post editorial by clicking here.


The Boulder Daily Camera: Polis

Polis’ hometown paper wagged its ink-stained fingers at both candidates before settling on its native son.

“Stapleton, the Colorado treasurer, so far has mounted a campaign that’s light on substance but heavy on attacks against Polis, who represents Colorado’s 2nd District in Congress, and it is regrettable that the GOP failed to elevate a better candidate,” the paper zinged. “Democrat Polis has his flaws — his manner too often comes off as superior, arrogant or self-satisfied — but Stapleton is unworthy of the top leadership role in a modern, growing, diverse, purple state like Colorado.”

The Daily Camera editorial pounded on Stapleton’s negative tone and embrace of President Trump, and it warmed to Polis’ aspirational goals.

“Some of Polis’ proposed initiatives will cost money, and opponents are justified in challenging him to explain where those funds will come from,” the Boulder paper stated. “But the state is in need of strong political leadership on transportation, education, energy development and other issues, and, between the two candidates, Polis is clearly better prepared to assume that responsibility.”

Read the Daily Camera’s endorsement by clicking here.


The Pueblo Chieftain: Stapleton

The Chieftain called the choice stark between two candidates who are polar opposites in their policies.

“In a battleground state that’s closely divided between Republicans and Democrats, it would have been nice to see candidates with more moderate positions on many key issues,” the editorial states. “However, the voters spoke during the primaries, and these are our two major party choices.”

The paper knocked Polis for doing a poor job of explaining how he’ll pay for his promise to provide universal health care.

“It’s not that Polis doesn’t have some good ideas, like decentralizing state government and relocating the offices of some departments to other communities, including Pueblo,” the paper said. “(We hope that happens, regardless of who wins the election.) And it seems like he supports, at least in concept, reclassifying some staff positions at [the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo] as a way to reduce the staffing shortage there. But it’s some of his more grandiose ideas that are at the centerpiece of his agenda that give us pause.”

The paper countered, “By contrast, Stapleton makes fewer promises, but the ones he makes seems more attainable.”

You can read the Chieftain editorial by clicking here.


The Sentinel of Aurora: Polis

The east-metro news outlet daily tore down Stapleton before it built up Polis in sharply worded terms.

“He launched his campaign needlessly claiming to be a ‘fourth-generation Coloradan,'” the Sentinel said of Stapleton. “He’s no such thing. Stapleton was born and raised in Connecticut, attended schools there and went on to Ivy League colleges. He sometimes visited family in Colorado for vacations.

“There was no reason for him to fabricate his biography. There is no shortage of proud and successful political leaders who moved to Colorado, including former governors Dick Lamm and Bill Owens.”

The newspaper was effusive for Polis.

“In Congress, Polis, an inventive and successful businessman, has a proven track record of not just creating and supporting pragmatic approaches to myriad problems plaguing Colorado,” it wrote. “As former chairman of the state’s Board of Education, Polis developed a reputation for protecting local control of schools while at the same time helping all schools raise the bar on student performance.

You can read that editorial by clicking here.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.