Oct 14, 2022 - Politics

Political Pulse: Heidi Ganahl sticks to the right and more headlines

Illustration of a pattern of checkmarks that turn into question marks and vice versa, over a red and blue background with a pattern of ballot elements.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Republican candidate for governor Heidi Ganahl is talking about "furries" — and not talking to top news outlets.

What's happening: In repeated interviews — mostly on conservative talk radio stations — Ganahl has claimed that children are self-identifying and dressing as animals in schools. "It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it's happening all over Colorado and schools are tolerating it. It's insane," she told the "Jimmy Sengenberger Show" on 710 KNUS.

Why it matters: Not only do her remarks represent a detour for the Colorado governor's race in its final weeks, but distract from Ganahl's focus on economics and crime.

Between the lines: What the Republican candidate needs is more opportunities to make her campaign pitch to a wider audience, but she's mostly sticking to where she's comfortable, conservative outlets with easier questions.

  • To wit, Ganahl recently declined a debate with Gov. Jared Polis on 9News — the state's most-watched TV station. The lone televised debate took place Thursday on CBS4, a news outlet Republicans consider more friendly.
  • She also recently declined to talk to Axios Denver after a campaign forum.

The other side: Polis campaign spokesperson Amber Miller said, "From the beginning … Ganahl has avoided critical questions, blamed Colorado's media and spent her time campaigning with conspiracy theorists and election deniers."

💰 In the governor's race, super PACs are spending $4.2 million — split about evenly between the two parties, the Colorado Sun reports in its Unaffiliated politics newsletter.

The intrigue: Where the money race diverges is six battleground state Senate contests.

  • Republicans have spent $5.8 million attacking Democrats and boosting their candidates, compared to $2.8 million in campaign advertising from the other side through Sept. 28.

👎 In the U.S. Senate race, Republican state Rep. Ron Hanks is endorsing Libertarian candidate Brian Peotter, and not his party's candidate.

Hanks lost to Joe O'Dea in the GOP primary and is now actively encouraging members of his own party to vote against their nominee. He says there is no "real Republican" in the Senate race, "there is only a fake Republican."

🗳 Political Pulse is a regular feature from Axios Denver to help you catch up quick on Colorado politics.

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