On Friday, Sept. 10, after months of speculation, University of Colorado (CU) Regent Heidi Ganahl filed paperwork to run for Colorado governor in 2022.
She was expected to formally announce her campaign this coming Tuesday and has not yet issued an official statement or returned calls from local media.
“Out of all of the lackluster campaign announcements for GOP candidates, Heidi Ganahl’s takes the cake for being the most bland and botched rollout,” said Colorado Democratic Party spokesperson Nico Delgado. “Her announcement slip-up sends a clear message to Coloradans that she’s not taking this campaign seriously nor is she prepared to be governor. If she can’t even handle a simple campaign launch, how can we expect her to run an entire state?”
As the sole Republican statewide elected official remaining in Colorado following a blue wave in the state that’s spanned multiple election cycles, she’s the immediate frontrunner for the battered Colorado Republican Party.
Here’s a roundup of the Colorado Times Recorder’s news coverage of Ganahl:
Support of former President Donald Trump and former U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO):
In a 2019 speech at a Colorado Republican Central Committee meeting, Ganahl praised the nomination of U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) to lead the Colorado Republican Party and endorsed Trump and Gardner.
“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,” Ganahl said. “It’s time to get to work to re-elect President Trump, to re-elect Senator Gardner, and to win back the state legislature.”
She praised John Eastman, who promoted racist conspiracy theories about Kamala Harris:
In December, Ganahl praised John Eastman, a controversial conservative figure who was a visiting scholar at CU’s Benson Center, a privately funded entity that promotes conservative views.
“There are fantastic folks who come in,” said Ganahl said on conservative talk radio last year (here at 11:30). “Right now, it’s Dr. John Eastman, who’s riling some folks up.”
Eastman previously promoted the conspiracy theory that Kamala Harris might not be legally qualified to be vice president because her parents were only visiting the U.S. at the time of her birth–a debunked argument that harkens back to the “birther” conspiracy that former President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S.
Eastman, who has filed a letter expressing his intent to sue CU, also was a Trump attorney who pushed lawsuits based on baseless claims that the presidential election was won by Trump and pressed Vice President Pence to block the presidential election results from being certified in the U.S. Senate.
She opposed the Colorado Option proposal to lower health care costs:
During the 2021 legislative session, Ganahl opposed a measure aimed at lowering health care costs by creating a public health insurance option in Colorado. Ganahl penned an op-ed citing her recent experience having a brain tumor removed and wrote that the bill “may even endanger miracles like mine.”
“The proposed Colorado Affordable Health Care Option is not the broad solution politicians claim,” wrote Ganahl in her column. “With unintended consequences to quality and access, it may force hospitals to eliminate some critical care functions. It may even endanger miracles like mine.”
She’s opposed to Colorado’s paid family leave program:
In recent op-eds, Ganahl has been deriding Democrats in Colorado’s legislature for what she views as “onerous regulations” passed over the last few years and the price tags associated with new laws. But the “whopping” number she repeatedly cites — $1.8 billion — does not actually represent the total amount of new taxes and fees resulting from new laws passed in the last year as she claims. Most of it is attributable to the hugely popular paid family leave program that voters approved in 2020.
Issues in higher education:
Ganahl opposed President Joe Biden’s proposal to expand access to higher education for millions of Americans by offering tuition-free community college.
As regent, Ganahl has been an advocate for free speech at CU and claims that conservatives on college campuses are being “silenced.” To promote conservative viewpoints, she created a now-defunct organization called the Free to Be Coalition to help organize on-campus conservative gatherings and debates, including one in 2018 featuring Brexit leader Nigel Farage.
Ganahl also has given mixed signals on the topic of campus sexual assault. At a luncheon in 2019, she acknowledged the issue before seemingly downplaying its pervasiveness: “Twenty-eight percent of students at CU said that they had been sexually assaulted, but it included all kinds of things like inappropriate touching, and catcalling, etc, etc,” said Ganahl. “I think the actual rape number was nine percent […] it’s still nine percent too many. But you know, that’s self-reported, so.”
She also served as co-chair for the No on CC campaign in 2020, opposing a ballot initiative that would have increased education and infrastructure funding by loosening TABOR rules.
She’s used far-right social-media websites:
Late last year, Ganahl made accounts on the far-right social media sites Parler, Gab, and MeWe, which are known for hosting far-right extremists, white nationalists, and conspiracy theorists.