At a Teller County Republican “Big Tent Event” over the weekend, rumored gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl praised the success of fellow Republican women being elected to political offices, including Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert.
Ganahl, the last remaining Colorado Republican elected to a statewide office, is currently serving on the University of Colorado Board of Regents, the school’s governing body.
Despite not having officially launched her 2022 campaign for governor, much of her speech focused on how Republicans can win back seats in a state that has steadily shifted to the left, and she seemed to frame her upcoming candidacy as part of a “red wave for Republican women”:
“You know, I don’t like identity politics but I do have three daughters, and I’m a female entrepreneur,” Ganahl said at the event. “I didn’t play that card when I was building my business, I was just an entrepreneur. But last year there was a red wave for Republican women, we sent 19 Republican women to Congress last year one of them being our Lauren Boebert.”
It’s an interesting statement from Ganahl, who would have to win broad support from more moderate voters to have any shot at the Governor’s mansion. Since her election in November, gun-toting, Trump-loving Boebert has been one of the most controversial figures in Congress for reasons including but not limited to her proximity to the Qanon conspiracy, her connections to the Jan. 6 insurrection, her attempts to bring a gun onto the House floor, her lengthy rap sheet, her anti-mask antics, her campaign finance woes, and, most recently, her failure to disclose her husband’s highly-paid natural gas gig — while she serves on the House Natural Resources Committee.
Ganahl did not return a request for comment seeking to know if she’d campaign alongside Boebert or whether she thinks Boebert is a good leader for Colorado.
“I don’t want you to feel down,” Ganahl continued during her speech. “We will win, and we have won.”
“What’s next for Colorado? How do we win again?” Ganahl asked the crowd. “Well, we can look at a couple different things. We can look at the regent race and how we did that, by very specifically focusing on the unaffiliated soccer moms, right?”
In Colorado, the narrative of a red wave for women – and appealing to more women voters – has been a popular one among conservatives, particularly after the Colorado Republican Party elected all-female leadership this year. It’s not clear, however, what policies they plan to promote that specifically cater to women.
Saturday’s event in Woodland Park featured speeches from several Republican political candidates and an AR-15 raffle, according to Colorado Newsline’s coverage of the event.
During her speech, Ganahl also highlighted some of her recent priorities as regent, including opposing vaccine mandates and critical race theory:
“[Regent] Chance Hill and I are partners in crime, we’re fighting back on [critical race theory]. For COVID, we put together a resolution that we tried to get passed to avoid vaccine mandate. It didn’t pass. We lost the majority last year so it’s a little bit harder to get things done.”
In May, Hill vocally opposed a vaccine mandate for CU, saying that such a mandate is “invasive” and amounts to “paternalism run amok.” Now, with COVID surging due to the highly contagious Delta variant and reluctance from many to get vaccinated, vaccine mandates are becoming more common, including for government employees, people who work in high-risk settings, and on campuses.
Ganahl also said that she didn’t know what a regent was before her campaign for Regent in 2016:
“So somebody says you should run for regent, you’re really involved with the University of Colorado. I’m like ‘What the heck is a regent?’ Do you guys know what a regent is? It’s okay to raise your hands. I didn’t either. So it was 2016, they were like it’s no big deal, you put up some posters, and you go to a couple barbecues and it’s like, okay, that sounds a little too easy,” Ganahl told the crowd.
Ganahl is widely expected to be announcing her candidacy any day now, and for months has been building her political profile. During her 2016 campaign for regent, she refused to comment on Donald Trump’s candidacy but later endorsed Trump’s re-election bid in 2020.