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Competitive Primaries On Both Sides Ahead In Colorado Governor's Race

By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) - Colorado's 2018 governor's race is drawing a record number of candidates.

There are now four Republicans and seven Democrats in the race.

This is the first gubernatorial race in 20 years in the state where there will be competitive primaries on both sides.

Jared Polis
Rep. Jared Polis (credit: CBS)

Congressman Jared Polis (D) Boulder is the latest to jump in, creating some big waves on the Democratic side.

Mike Johnston
Mike Johnston (credit: CBS)

"He in many ways is the worst case scenario for the Democratic party," sais Republican analyst Dick Wadhams. "Because he is going to move that party to the left in this governor's race."

Wadhams points to Polis's and rival Mike Johnston's promise of all renewable energy in Colorado by 2040.

Dick Wadhams
Dick Wadhams (credit: CBS)

"I would say to my friend Dick, I think the people in Colorado want to move forward in the energy world and that means renewables," said Democratic analyst Mary Alice Mandarich.

Mary Alice Mandarich
Mary Alice Mandarich (credit: CBS)

She disputes Wadhams' claim that the party is divided by extremists from the Bernie Sanders wing.

Bernie Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders (credit: CBS)

"The Democratic Party is united on one thing and that's its hatred of Donald Trump," said Wadhams. "That's all they're united on."

"Who's to define extreme?" said Mandarich. "What's extreme to me might not be extreme to the person who's worried and scared to death about their health care coverage."

She says Republicans have a bigger problem.

"I think this is going to be an election different from a lot that we've had recently because it's going to be issue-driven, because the issues are becoming clearer when it comes to having Republicans in control of government. I think it's going to be fascinating to watch."

Wadhams agrees that it will be an election for the ages.

"We're going to have these wild, diffused, exciting primaries on both sides. It could be a fascinating year that we've never seen before," Wadhams said.

Adding to the intrigue, for the first time, unaffiliated voters will be able to vote in the primaries. It's a dynamic that Wadhams says could play into which candidates emerge and who takes over as Colorado's next governor.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4's political specialist. She's a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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