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Two takes on Jared Polis — poles apart, but both enlightening

Author: Dan Njegomir - June 12, 2017 - Updated: April 17, 2018

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For his fellow Democrats, 2nd Congressional District U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder represents a political game-changer with his announcement over the weekend he intends to run for Colorado governor in 2018. He’s super-smart, super-rich and enough of a nonconformist to capture the imagination of voters.

For Republicans, Polis is a game-changer, too, but of a different sort: He’s a standing spoof of every GOP stereotype of the political left: supercilious, super-silly and enough of a nonconformist to be too zany for prime-time politics.

Democrats will point out Polis — a wunderkind who turned his folks’ greeting-card biz into a digital phenomenon and made himself a fortune — has managed to get himself elected to Congress five times. Republicans will say, yeah, but that’s representing Boulder. Democrats will point out Polis’s first run for office was in a statewide race that landed him an at-large seat on the State Board of Education (a post subsequently eliminated). Republicans will say, yeah, but nobody knew him then. Or paid attention to the race.

And so it goes.

That Colorado’s two major political parties harbor starkly different views about the politics of any candidate is of course only natural. But about a candidate’s viability? Probably has something to do with Polis’s persona and image; it might also signify how polarized our political culture has become nationally, with Colorado representing a microcosm.

In any event, consider this snapshot of those sharply contrasting views, enunciated by leftwardly tilted Colorado Pols and Colorado Peak Politics over on the right.

Here’s a snippet from Pols:

…Polis’ bold campaign theme of 100% renewable energy could resonate with a segment of the Democratic base that’s been discontented for a number of years in Colorado as the battles over oil and gas development along the urbanizing Front Range have escalated. Polis has been a leader in that complicated and fractious battle, and if he retains the trust of the environmental left going into this race it could be a crucial edge.

Obviously, Polis’ entry into the 2018 gubernatorial race forces all of us to reset our calculations here. But the biggest takeaway for today is the fact that Democrats are feeling very good about 2018, and there’s going to be healthy competition for what could be the fruits of an historic victory. Between Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter, Democrats have a choice of two of the biggest names in Colorado politics–and that’s got to feel better than a primary between a district attorney and a couple of unknown rich guys.

…And from Peak:

… (H)e will focus on moving the state to 100 percent renewable energy 20 years after his term ends, provide free, all day preschool for toddlers and kindergarten for kids, and encourage companies to give employees stock options.

Here’s how that will work.

via GIPHY

… On the bright side, we won’t have to be embarrassed by his presence in Congress anymore. He’ll step down after his term finishes this year.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.