What They Are Saying: Colorado Democrat Jared Polis’s Disregard For Rural Voters Is “A Disgrace”

Colorado Democrat gubernatorial nominee Jared Polis continues to face withering criticism from across the political spectrum for his blatant disregard of rural voters.

Last month, Polis announced he will be the first gubernatorial candidate in decades to skip the Club 20 debate, widely known as “Western Colorado’s marquee political event.” Despite a strong backlash, Polis has only doubled down on his decision to snub rural voters, dismissing their concerns as “partisan.”

As Polis makes it clear that he doesn’t have time for rural voters, here’s what Coloradoans across the political spectrum are saying about his decision to skip the Club 20 debate:

The Denver Post Editorial Board called Polis’s decision to skip the Club 20 debate “a disgrace” and “downright cowardly.”

“It’s a disgrace that Polis is ducking the Club 20 debate in Grand Junction on Sept. 8. The debate is a political tradition for good reason. The Western Slope is easily skipped over in state-wide elections, in part because it doesn’t have the population numbers to justify campaign stops and advertising.

But if Polis is a no-show to the admittedly conservative event, it’ll look downright cowardly. The truth is Polis has nothing to fear from Club 20 — the debates are heavy on policy questions that have a real impact to folks living on the other side of the Great Divide and light on gotcha-politics.”

Former Board Chair and Chief Executive Officer For Action 22, Bob Stovall, argues Polis’s insult of rural Colorado shows “either absolute arrogance or absolute ignorance.”

“It is my opinion that this decision by candidate Polis demonstrates either absolute arrogance or absolute ignorance about rural Colorado and the three organizations that represent all but six of the 64 counties in the state. Perhaps it is both.

It is clear that he does not understand the great history behind Club 20, the fact that one of its early leaders was a former governor, and the fact that it represents close to half the state in geographic territory.”

The Daily Sentinel compared Polis refusing to attend the Club 20 debate to “a presidential candidate deciding to skip Iowa.”

“The Club 20 snub is sort of like a presidential candidate deciding to skip Iowa. The Club 20 debate is the unofficial start of the sprint to Election Day. In the 30 years Club 20 has hosted a debate, every gubernatorial candidate has shown up.”

Colorado Democrat State Senator Kerry Donovan reacted to Polis’s deliberate snub with astonishment, asking “not sure what happened here.”

9 News’ Kyle Clark tweeted that Polis’ decision to skip the debate “is going over poorly.”

Club 20 Executive Director Christian Reece said it was “a slap in the face to all of Western Colorado.”

“It is a shame that Candidate Polis is unwilling to participate in a non-partisan forum where our voices can be heard,’ said Christian Reece, Executive Director of Club 20. ‘It is a slap in the face to all of Western Colorado.”

Club 20 Board Chair, Cindy Dozier, called the move “simply outrageous.”

“Congressman Polis’ decision not to honor the citizens of Western Colorado by participating in our debates is simply outrageous and we continue to ask for his reconsideration,’ said Cindy Dozier, Club 20 board chair, in a statement.”