Polis’ Run for Governor Opens Up Solidly Democratic Seat

Democratic primary could be crowded in Colorado race

Colorado Rep. Jared Polis is currently serving his fifth term in Congress. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Colorado Democrat Jared Polis announced Sunday that he is running for governor, opening up a House seat that should stay in his party’s hands.

“I’m running for Governor to protect what keeps CO special, 100% renewable energy, economy that works 4 all!,” Polis tweeted Sunday.

Polis, first elected to Congress in 2008, will vacate the 2nd District seat based in Boulder. Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the district by 21 points in November, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Democratic.

Polis will face another member of Colorado’s congressional delegation, among others, in the gubernatorial primary: Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter.

Besides Polis and Perlmutter, five other Democrats have already announced bids for governor so far, according to the Colorado secretary of state, including former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy, who was endorsed by EMILY’s List on Wednesday.

The Democratic primary contest for Polis’ seat is also expected to be crowded.

Two Colorado Democrats said Joe Neguse could be a potential candidate. He is the son of African immigrants who unsuccessfully ran for Colorado secretary of state in 2014, and is currently the head of the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

One consultant also named two county commissioners, Dan Gibbs of Summit County and Elise Jones of Boulder County, as potential candidates. Betsy Markey, a former congresswoman from Colorado’s 4th District, was also named as a prospect.

Another Colorado Democrat said to keep an eye on state Sen. Stephen Fenberg, who founded the nonprofit New Era Colorado, which focuses on young voter registration and engagement.

Shannon Watts is also a candidate to watch. She founded Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, after the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The group has expanded into a national organization with chapters in every state.

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