As about 40 protesters gathered outside of the El Paso County Republican Committee office Friday afternoon, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner and Republican nominee for Colorado governor Walker Stapleton addressed about 50 Republican invitees upstairs.
In his introductory remarks, Gardner said, “The road to the governor’s mansion drives directly through El Paso County.” “If Jared Polis is elected, you know what’s going to happen. It’s cradle to grave government care. It’s an energy policy that makes you pay more. It’s less opportunity for the American people, for the Colorado people,” he continued.
Protesters downstairs were mainly focused on abortion and many wore pink tee-shirts supporting Planned Parenthood. Some were dressed in red robes and white bonnets to invoke the dystopian television series “The Handmaid’s Tale” in protest of any attempt to restrict abortion.
Criticizing Polis, whose personal fortune may be as much as 500 million dollars, Gardner said, “Jared Polis has unlimited ability to write himself as much of a check as he wants. But that’s why we’re going to stand strong, because this race isn’t going to be won by somebody who can write themselves that big fat check.”
Introducing Walker Stapleton, Gardner said, “You don’t have to live in Denver or Boulder just to be represented. You can live anywhere in this state. And I know that Walker Stapleton and Lang Sias, his Lieutenant Governor choice are going to do just that.”
Stapleton was met with applause by the invited guests. He pointed out that while losing Republican primary nominees joined a statewide unity tour with Stapleton, when the Democrats held their post-primary rally on the west steps of the Capitol, the only nominee that showed up was Polis. “All of the opponents who ran against Jared Polis were too busy to even come to one event at the capitol in Denver,” said Stapleton. This triggered laughter from the audience.
Stapleton attacked Polis’ expensive 100 percent renewable energy and government-run healthcare plans as unworkable and economically destructive.
“Jared Polis wants to impose a renewable standard that economists say would cost 45 billion dollars at least,” said Stapleton. “You take 45 billion dollars for energy, you take another 15 billion dollars for a government takeover of health care, sprinkle in free pre-school for a couple more billion dollars, two years of vocational or college tuition and pretty soon you are imperiling the economic future of all of us in Colorado,” he continued.
Turning to the environment to rebut Polis’ anti-fracking agenda he said, “I believe that the air that all of us want to breathe in Colorado, the streams that we want to fish with our kids, the mountains we want to hike in summer and ski in winter, those values of caring about Colorado’s environment are not mutually exclusive from a responsible, regulated energy industry in the State of Colorado. And anybody that tells you differently is telling you make a false choice.”
Stapleton is confident he can defeat Polis in the general election because Polis is trying to buy his way into the Governor’s mansion. “Jared Polis spent more money to win a contested primary on the Democratic side than has ever been spent in Colorado history by Republicans and Democrats combined. And he won 44 percent of the vote. Put another way, he spent 11 and a half million dollars and 56 percent of Democrats still didn’t vote for him,” he said.
But Gardner cautioned that Stapleton is not a shoe-in and called upon attendees to be prepared to work hard to win. “It’s going to take a lot of us our hard work, our shoe work, our phone work, and everything that you have always done so incredibly well in El Paso County to make sure that we win this Governor’s seat back,” he said.
“I am here today to stand up for our kids and your kids as well and the economic future that all of us have come to rely on in Colorado that we want to have for future generations in our state,” said Stapleton, “The Colorado that all of us love and know is under attack like never before, and we’re going stand up and defend it.”
Below in the street, protesters called Gardener a coward for declining to be confronted by them about the impending confirmation of Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh and their fear that Roe v. Wade might be overturned.