RELEASE: Colorado Dems’ Tour: Where’s Hick?

Greenwood Village, CO – The Colorado Democrats announced an end-of-cycle bus tour, and the itinerary raises a question that has recurred throughout this campaign: What does Governor John Hickenlooper really think about Jared Polis?

None of the tour’s announced stops, not even the kickoff in Denver, includes Hickenlooper. Of course Democrats would downplay its significance, but Hickenlooper’s absence suggests a lingering rift with Jared Polis; and that rift, in turn, speaks to the ideological chasm separating the centrist governor from his party’s leftwing nominee.

Consider their history. In 2014, Gov. Hickenlooper had to plead with Congressman Polis to back down from ballot measures that would have obliterated the oil and gas industry in Colorado. This year, Hickenlooper called Polis’ energy plan “pretty radical” after Polis had won the nomination. After that, his former chief of staff blasted Polis on Twitter for hypocritically lamenting money in politics while simultaneously pouring millions of his own dollars into the campaign.

Given this backstory, Hickenlooper’s absence seems less likely to stem from insuperable scheduling conflicts than from the ideological distance between Hickenlooper, who has governed as a relatively pro-business moderate Democrat, and Polis, manifestly the most leftwing, extreme gubernatorial nominee in Colorado’s history.

Colorado Republican Chairman Jeff Hays issued the following statement about Hickenlooper’s absence from the bus tour:

“It’s no coincidence that Gov. Hickenlooper is keeping his distance from Jared Polis. They belong to the same party, but Polis and Hickenlooper are on different pages when it comes to energy jobs, the feasibility of converting Colorado to one hundred percent renewable energy by 2040, and the various tax increases Polis would like to foist on Coloradans. John Hickenlooper has governed as a moderate Democrat, and Jared Polis is no John Hickenlooper.”