Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has earned broad bipartisan praise for his leadership during the coronavirus pandemic. Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer, however, isn’t among those conservatives offering him their approval.
On the morning of March 18, Kirkmeyer, who is a Republican candidate for state senate District 23, posted a campaign cartoon attacking Polis for a variety of policies and promising, “as your State Senator, I’ll be Jared Polis’s worst nightmare.” The cartoon depicts Governor Polis as a wind-powered passenger ship about to be sunk by a torpedo bearing the logo of the Kirkmeyer campaign.
The most prominent policy she appears to be attacking is wind energy, depicted by a large windmill powering the “SS Polis.” Wind power generates nearly a fifth of Colorado’s electricity. Kirkmeyer’s own Weld County is home to three Vestas factories, two in Brighton and one in Windsor, that build wind turbine components. Vestas announced last year that it was adding 200 jobs at its Brighton plants.
Below the windmill, the cartoon lists three policies: “Government-run health care, Red flag gun law,” and “Job-killing regulations.” During the coronavirus pandemic other Republicans have thanked Polis specifically for his decision to relax regulations to allow medical professionals licensed in other states to be quickly approved to work in Colorado and suspending via emergency order requirements for state employees to obtain a doctor’s note to call in sick.
Kirkmeyer’s direct attack on Polis is in stark contrast to a number Republicans who have a made a point of publicly supporting the Governor’s efforts. Pundit and former legislator Rob Witwer went so far as to say the Governor had earned his vote, tweeting:
“I did not vote for @GovofCO last time, but I will most certainly do so next time. His leadership right now is exemplary. These aren’t easy calls.”
Conservative commentator Kelly Maher also singled out Polis for praise:
State Senate Republican Communications Director Sage Naumann went out of his way to thank the governor, tweeting “This isn’t a political issue. We may disagree with @jaredpolis on plenty of policy, but in this fight we are one team with one goal. ”
Naumann was commenting on his official Colorado Senate Republicans tweet which stated, “The Governor and his staff have kept the lines of communication open with legislative leadership and we are extremely thankful. We will beat this. Together. Stay safe.”
Kirkmeyer posted the cartoon in numerous conservative Facebook groups. Nearly all of the commenters responded positively, including the Independence Institute’s Sherrie Peif, who works as a reporter for Complete Colorado.
The Kirkmeyer campaign declined to discuss the cartoon over the phone, asking that questions be emailed instead. A subsequent email list of questioned yet to be answered, but this post will be updated if answers are received.