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Jared Polis and Heidi Ganahl spar over the economy, crime, growth and education

Voters Decide: Governor's Race Debate
Voters Decide: Governor's Race Debate 55:03

The Coloradans who want to be your next governor sparred over crime, the economy and our ever-growing population during the only statewide televised debate Thursday night on CBS News Colorado.

Voters Decide: The Governor's Race debate analysis 03:10

"Public safety will be my number one priority. I will make sure that law enforcement is fully funded," Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl said. Regarding crime and law enforcement, both candidates say more needs to be done. And it generated some of the most heated moments of the debate.

"We have a plan in Colorado to make it one of the 10 safest states over the next 5 years," Democrat incumbent Gov. Jared Polis said. Yet they disagreed on the way to get it done.

Ganahl said, "I would replace the parole board, I would replace the heads of the Department of Corrections, Public Safety and the Department of Justice. I would roll back decriminalizing fentanyl ... The more time I spend with law enforcement, the more time they talk about the frustration that Jared Polis created when he created this a sanctuary state."

"Her answer to every question is Jared Polis, Jared Polis," Polis fired back. "I think we need to deliver more funding for law enforcement not less," Polis said he's a data driven person. "Show me what reduces crime and we will get it done," Polis said.

CBS News Colorado  

On the economy, both candidates said they want to eliminate the income tax. Ganahl says she would cut waste and fraud. Polis says he would replace it with a carbon tax.

Polis said, "If I am elected governor one of my priorities will be making sure we continue to keep property taxes low. We did a 2-year property tax cut for 2023 and 2024, every homeowner and every business."

Ganahl responded, "We are going to take Colorado to zero income tax over 8 years. We are going to put more money back into the pockets of the people of Colorado by changing the way we receive TABOR refunds so that they are income tax deductions, permanent ones."

And on renewable energy, "You're going too far, too fast again," Ganahl said about Polis' plans.

Polis said, "We need to make sure Colorado consumers are not beholden to international market forces with clean low-cost energy."

The candidates hear how a coin toss will decide who starts the debate by CBS Colorado News Director, Kristine Strain CBS News Colorado

After the debate, CBS News Colorado anchor Jim Benemann talked with political analysts Dick Wadhams and Mike Dino. Mike Dino, a Democratic political analyst, said, "We know there are challenges but there are a lot of great things that happened in our state ... particularly during the pandemic."

At one point during the debate, Ganahl accused Polis' policies of killing Colorado children.

"While yes, it may have been a little harsh, there's some truth to it," Dick Wadhams, Republican political analyst, told Benemann.

Ballots drop next week in the mail across Colorado.

The hour-long debate covered a lot of ground. You can watch Wadhams and Dino talk with CBS News Colorado's political specialist Shaun Boyd Friday at 1 p.m. on "Left, Right, Center" on CBS News Colorado.

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