Jared Polis heads into election facing criticism and new opposition

Adrian Felix

Last week’s primary vote in Colorado finalized the stage for the upcoming November election by deciding who will be on the general election ballot. Republican Nicholas Morse is set to face incumbent Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) for House District 2, which includes the cities of Granby, Loveland, Fort Collins and Boulder.

This will be Polis’ fifth time running for the office, and according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website, in the last four election match-ups he faced, he garnered more than 55 percent of the vote. With overall consistent numbers and a strong supporter base of Democrats in his district, is Polis safe in the fast-approaching November election?

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Polis has been facing criticism from both sides of the political aisle. In March, the Democratic super delegate faced opposition from the more progressive wing of his party for endorsing Secretary Hillary Clinton over the caucus vote winner Bernie Sanders. Sanders won the state of Colorado with a whopping double-digit margin of nearly 19 points, totaling 59 percent of the vote.

The Democratic Party establishment has been fervently working to avoid any upset over defeated Bernie Sanders, as now presumptive-nominee Hillary Clinton needs those supporters to ultimately win Colorado come November. Colorado is a coveted battle-ground state that could go either way: red or blue. Disgruntled Democratic and Independent voters could be lead astray by a worthy candidate, whether at the top of the ticket or down the ballot.

Beyond Polis’ endorsement, his voting record over the past two years has also received criticism from the left. His support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal has left some of his supporter base anxious. In a political landscape where rhetoric of a ‘rigged economy’ is rampant, his support for the deal didn’t bode well with his constituents. Polis is worth an estimated $388 million, easily one of the top ten richest congressmen currently serving in office.

Polis also received backlash when he pulled back his support on two anti-fracking initiatives last year. The initiatives sought to restrict fracking of natural gas in the state and required 200,000 signatures to be put on the 2015 November ballot. These petitions eventually failed to reach the number of signatures needed by the August deadline. 

Republicans have far more than a couple of concerns regarding Polis’ record. His support of the Iran Nuclear Agreement, his views on the 2nd Amendment and expanding background checks for gun purchases, as well as his support of the Affordable Care Act are just some of the issues they will surely run against him in the next few months. His opponent, Nicholas Morse, has a typical right-wing platform with focal points on limited government, fiscal responsibility and Syrian refugees. Some bipartisan viewpoints that may help Morse in the election are his initiatives on student debt, as well his concern for the military and veterans. 

However, the Republican presumptive-nominee Donald Trump has changed party dynamics by pushing his party further to the right on issues like race and handling terrorism. As the mid-July Republican National Convention approaches, Morse’s ability to fight off a Democratic incumbent may depend on the state of the party and their strategy going into November.

Polis does have some variables benefiting him. Being an incumbent, he has name recognition that Morse simply does not have. This name recognition comes from Polis’ ability to fund his own campaign and having a record in government. Whether that record is successful is up to the voters in November. 

CTV Executive Producer and Collegian Reporter Adrian Felix can be reached at ctv@collegian.com or on Twitter @afelixmedia.