Election 2018GovernorNewsWestern Colorado

Big Western Slope weekend with Polis ticks off the GOP

Author: Joey Bunch - August 31, 2018 - Updated: September 13, 2018

Jared PolisDemocratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis with running mate Dianne Primavera a the Greeley Stampede on the Fourth of July. (Photo courtesy of the campaign via Facebook)

Jared Polis is making 13 campaign stops on the Western Slope over the Labor Day weekend, and Republicans aren’t taking the news well.

The GOP has been kicking the Democratic nominee unceasingly for skipping the Club 20 gubernatorial debate on Sept. 20, a tradition that goes back decades on the Western Slope. Instead, he will agreed to debate Republican Walker Stapleton on Oct. 6 in Grand Junction in a televised debate put on by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Rocky Mountain PBS and Mesa State University.

Spending the entire holiday weekend there gives Polis the right to say he isn’t ignoring the Western Slope on the road to the Governor’s Office.

And Republicans say that’s not good enough.

“At the Club 20 debate, Polis would have to answer hard questions about his refusal to support Jordan Cove and his plans to destroy healthcare on the Western Slope,” said state GOP chairman Jeff Hays, referring to the stalled multi-state pipeline and terminal to export Colorado natural gas pipeline and Polis’ universal health care proposal.

“No wonder he’d rather chat with a few supporters in coffeeshops.”

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet have supported it, Hays said.

Democrats gave as good as they got, as the campaigns try to seize the post-Labor Day momentum. After Monday, voters will be paying attention.

The state party said Stapleton will hold a rally “with poisonous extremist Tom Tancredo, who served on the board of a white nationalist hate group that organized the Charlottesville neo-Nazi rally.”

Yes and no. Stapleton and Tancredo are both invited guests at a Republican event at The Pinery Country Club in Parker Saturday, but the event nor Tancredo’s involvement is part of the campaign, said Stapleton’s people.

“While Jared is barnstorming the Western Slope, Stapleton will make the arduous trek from Greenwood Village to a country club in Parker to hold a single public event with white nationalist Tom Tancredo,” Eric Walker, spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party, said in a statement.

“I guess that’s the level of effort we can expect from a guy who ‘might as well stay in bed or hang out at home’ than do the job taxpayers elected him to do.”

Polis made stops in Buena Vista, Salida, Gunnison and Crested Butte Friday. Saturday the tour continues to Montrose, Grand Junction and Rifle, then wraps up Sunday withe stops in Meeker, Craig and Steamboat Springs. The schedule is on Polis’ Facebook page.

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.