Oct 19, 2022 - Politics

1-minute voter guide: Jared Polis faces challenge from Heidi Ganahl

Photo illustration of Jared Polis, tinted blue, and Heidi Ganahl, tinted red, separated by a white halftone divider.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado's two candidates for governor couldn't be more different — and that's exactly how they want it.

State of play: Gov. Jared Polis is seeking a second term to continue a massive transformation of state government since Democrats took complete control of lawmaking in 2019, while Republican rival Heidi Ganahl is pledging to reverse most of the changes.

Why it matters: The governor holds broad authority to set policy plans and determine the direction of the state.

Meet the candidates: Both candidates lived in California for a time and made millions as entrepreneurs, one of their few similarities.

  • Polis, 47, founded an online flower and greeting card business and other tech companies before being elected to the Colorado state education board in 2000. He then spent a decade as a congressman representing his hometown of Boulder. He made history as the state's first openly gay and first Jewish governor when elected in 2019
  • Ganahl, 56, founded and sold Camp Bow Wow, a dog daycare business and other nonprofits. She grew up in Monument. As a regent on the governing board of the University of Colorado system, she is currently the only statewide elected Republican in Colorado.

Where they stand: Polis is campaigning on his record — pushing through an expansion of preschool and kindergarten, as well as putting Colorado on a path toward more renewable energy.

  • Ganahl's top priority is repealing the state's income tax, a move that would put a $12 billion hole in the state budget and force drastic cuts to education, health care and corrections. She argues the state is spending too much, and pledged to cut $1 billion in discretionary spending from the budget each year.

Of note: Earlier this year, Polis signed into state law unlimited protections for abortion in Colorado.

  • Ganahl, who opposes abortion except in cases of rape and incest, pledged to "rip up the disgusting Polis abortion bill."

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