Editor’s Note: Read our comprehensive look at the race to fill the CD2 vacated by Rep. Mark Udall.
Never have we struggled more in picking a candidate to endorse in an election.
The Second Congressional District Democratic primary pitting Jared Polis (wealthy philanthropist), Joan Fitz-Gerald (first woman to serve as president of the state’s senate majority) and Will Shafroth (career conservationist) against each other has been an amazing race to cover.
It’ll likely become the most expensive House seat in the country when second quarter contributions are released later this month. And this is all for a primary. OK, it really is for the ticket to D.C. since this seat is in an overwhelmingly liberal district, having Boulder County as its center.
All three candidates are stellar. We say that with the utmost sincerity. They have all worked tirelessly to meet the voters and have each raised well more than $1 million from contributors. Their platforms are similar, representing core Democratic Party principles well.
Still, we don’t want this to come off as a half-hearted, wishy-washy endorsement. There will be no “You can’t go wrong with the other two” statements (that previous mention notwithstanding).
Following two sets of interviews with each of the candidates, it became clear who should represent the district that spreads throughout Adams and Boulder counties and a few mountain communities to the west.
Democrats and independents, when you get your ballot in the mail in the next few days or head to a polling station in August, the choice is simple: Vote Jared Polis.
He won our confidence through personality, devotion to helping others, smarts and savvy that has us believing he’ll make an impact in Washington.
Sure, Polis has taken some heat for being the wealthy, self-financed candidate who has chipped in about $3.7 million of his own money to the campaign. There are plenty of hate-filled posts from readers on the Boulder Daily Camera website and other message boards.
When asked about that, he says he’s pretty sure none of those haters has ever met him.
We couldn’t agree more. There is little not to like about Polis, the 33-year-old who made millions selling websites and buys flowers for all of his employees on their birthdays.
Be envious of his money (his worth measured in 10 figures) if you feel like being superficial, but that is certainly not a reason to dislike the man.
He earned his money the hard way, by building businesses from the ground up. And now that he has tons cash, he does the right thing with it—giving a whole lot to those in need.
So he certainly passes the good guy test.
But more importantly, the Princeton-educated Polis is the type of Democrat that Washington needs—one who is not scared to take a stand about his beliefs.
He is gay, so expect him to actually stand up for gay marriage rights, not skirt around it with terms such as “civil unions.” He doesn’t care much for the game of politics, so expect him to fight for policy because it is the right thing to do for the voters he represents regardless if it is politically safe.
He understands the need for serious illegal immigration reform, probably more so than most anyone you’ll ever meet. Polis has built two schools with his money, education centers that serve kids who cannot speak English well or at all. Many of them born in the U.S. from parents here illegally.
Instead of just trying to boot these children over a wall, he wants to educate them, teach them English and help them become part of the workforce instead of a fate much worse.
Basically, he won’t shy from what’s right, even if that means a hate-filled letter every now and then. That’s the type of person who needs to represent this district.
Polis also has just enough experience serving the public to give confidence that he can work both sides of the isle well and not rub conservatives the wrong way. This country is tired of partisan politics, and Polis is, too.
He served on the Colorado Board of Education for six years, including a stint as chair. This being an executive branch of government, building a consensus across all political backgrounds was of the utmost importance.
As far as policy, he has detailed plans and ideas of how to get out of Iraq, fight the mortgage crisis that has decimated the North Metro housing market, and increase reliance on renewable energy.
Fixing the broken healthcare system is a top priority, however difficult it may be to build consensus for a single-payer program that would offer healthcare to most everyone in the United States.
But that is not what puts him over the edge in this race. Quite frankly, Polis, Fitz-Gerald and Shafroth all share a very similar vision of what changes need to be made on the national level, so picking the candidate comes down to who we think will be most effective in Washington.
This is where Polis’ enthusiasm and smarts kick in. He has a refreshing voice and an attitude indicative of someone who works well with others. He can also close a deal with the best of them, as he has proven over and over again in the business world.
And we suspect he’ll never back down to special interest groups. As Polis told us over lunch a month ago, you shouldn’t shy from the guy with the money; he doesn’t need this job. That may not be true with all wealthy people, but when you have someone as genuine as Polis saying that, you tend to believe him.
Jared Polis doesn’t need this job. He wants it.
He has always been incredibly passionate about serving others, whether it being through his charity or school board work.
He is ready to serve voters of the district with that same passion. And he will make decisions based on what is right for the Second Congressional District and the country in general, not what will make powerful lobbyists happy—he probably has more money than them anyway.
“Everybody gets wined and dined on Capitol Hill,” he says. “I can wine and dine myself.”
— Jacob Harkins, Yellow Scene Magazine editor
Mail-in ballots will be mailed out today and the final day to register as a Democrat or independent and be eligible to vote in the CD2 primary is Monday. The primary is Aug. 12.