The red meat was indeed raw and juicy at the Colorado Republican Central Committee meeting last month.
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner shouted about needing “a fighter” at the top of his lungs. Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) threatened recalls and dared Democrats to take his guns from his “cold dead hands.” District Attorney George Brauchler said “the front was bloody” and warned that soon Coloradans will have to call California “our overlords.”
Compared to violent language and imagery favored by Buck, Gardner, and Brauchler, University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl’s speech was relatively tame.
“We’re on the right side of history. We have the right solutions for the problems our state faces, and Ken Buck has a track record of winning and winning big, as our president likes to say.
“It’s time to get to work to re-elect President Trump, to re-elect Senator Gardner, and to win back the state legislature.”CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, Republican Central Committee meeting, 3/30/19
This straightforward endorsement wouldn’t be significant were it not for the fact that during her 2016 campaign for CU Regent, Ganahl refused to even utter the name of her party’s presidential candidate.
In fact, just before November’s election, she told the Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins that she was struggling with the “whole situation” of Trump being the Republican nominee. The Independent reported:
Ganahl is one of the many down-ballot Republicans running this year who won’t say if she is voting for Donald Trump for president, but she says she is “voting the Republican ticket” up and down the ballot.
“I’m voting the Republican ticket, it’s that simple,” she says when reminded that the Republican on top of the GOP ticket is Trump.
Asked she believes Trump will have an effect on her as a candidate who won’t even say his name in an interview, she demurred.
“Like other Americans I’m struggling with the whole situation, too, but I do believe our party’s principles are the best for our country,” she said.Colorado Independent, 10/27/16
Ganahl clearly isn’t struggling with Trump as the leader of the GOP anymore. And as Colorado’s only remaining statewide elected official not named Cory Gardner, her political profile has only increased since she took office.
In its 2016 endorsement of CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, the Denver Post Editorial Board described her as “the type of moderate who can maintain the Republican hold on the Board of Regents without pushing traditional conservative principles that don’t fit on college campuses dedicated to diversity and equality.”
More recently Colorado Politics’ Joey Bunch praised her as the Republican’s next best hope cited conversations he’s had with “GOP kingmakers,”
“They say their best bet now might be Heidi Ganahl, the well-regarded University of Colorado regent,” Bunch wrote. “If you’re a Republican or considering the options to Polis, you should get to know her. Gov. Ganahl has a ring to it; so does being the first woman to serve as Colorado’s governor.”
Colorado Christian University’s Jeff Hunt clearly agrees with Bunch. He introduced Ganahl at last summer’s Western Conservative Summit as “a future governor of Colorado,” and said she was “the only person to defeat Hillary Clinton in a statewide race in Colorado.” [Ed. note: It’s unclear how he came to that conclusion as Clinton received over 100,000 more votes than Ganahl in 2016 and defeated Trump by a larger margin than Ganahl’s four-point victory over Alice Madden.]
These assessments of Ganahl’s political viability rely on her credentials as a moderate businesswoman, successful entrepreneur and suburban mom. She participates in numerous conservative but ostensibly nonpartisan policy and politics groups, such as chairing the Job Creators Network’s National Women’s Coalition, which in its own words “Recruits female entrepreneurs to defend free enterprise.” Similarly she sits on the board of the Common Sense Policy Roundtable, a business-friendly group founded by Colorado Republican fundraiser Kristin Strohm.
Ganahl is also an Ambassador for “Champion Women,” a project of another center-right group, the Independent Women’s Voice. The Champion Women movement advocates the following:
“All women should be treated with respect. Fear of being shamed, mocked, or silenced should have no place in the national debate…Too often on social media, in public, and in the news people try to diminish the influence, perspectives, and policy solutions put forth by women by degrading their appearance and delegitimizing their qualifications. Champion Women pushes back and calls out those who objectify, dismiss, or degrade women.”Independent Women’s Voice “Champion Women” website.
The group specifically cites Trump as an example of someone to “call out” or “take on” for making degrading statements about a woman’s appearance.
Ganahl did not return a request for comment about her speech to the Colorado Republican party and the endorsements she chose to make.