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Will Polis Win Easily?

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Floyd Ciruli

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The latest Sabato Crystal Ball report continues to list Governor Jared Polis’ reelection status as lean Democratic. Because the turbulent national environment is benefitting Republicans in general and some of their local campaigns have improved, the report shifted the Democratic governor in Nevada to a toss-up from lean Democrat and the governor of New Mexico to lean from likely Democrat.

I agree with Sabato’s call. Polis is likely to win a second term. But it is not clear how easily. Two factors create doubts as to his smooth sailing. As they pointed out, national political conditions are trending toward Republicans. Inflation, COVID-19 and Joe Biden’s approval are all problems for incumbent Democrats. That is probably not enough by itself to change Colorado’s race dynamics, but it’s a factor. It especially helps Republican fundraising and grassroots activities.

In addition, Polis has had some controversies, which could hurt him. For example, he doesn’t pay much in taxes and the state had a poor administration of unemployment compensation. But the leading Republican candidate, Heidi Ganahl, does not as yet have much traction and is underfunded. Of course, Polis will spend whatever he thinks is needed to win.

However, Democrats will remain nervous. Both the Senate and selective congressional races in Colorado could be highly contested, creating Republican enthusiasm that will benefit the entire ticket.

Gov. Jared Polis