NONPARTISAN CANDIDATE GUIDE: 2018 COLORADO GOVERNOR’S RACE

Jared Polis (D)
Jared Polis (D)
Walker Stapleton (R)
Walker Stapleton (R)

Created by the Campus Election Engagement Project, a nonpartisan effort to help college and university administrators, faculty, and student leaders engage their schools in the election. Key sites consulted included Votesmart.org, OntheIssues.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com, and public candidate statements. For guides to local races, see Vote411.org from the League of Women Voters and Ballotready.org. For more detailed information visit their votesmart.org pages.

Visit polisforcolorado.com and stapletonforcolorado.com to volunteer. Other candidates for governor include George Allen Cantrell (Constitution Party), Scott Helker (Libertarian Party), Bill Hammons (Independent), Matthew Wood (Independent), Kathleen Cunningham (Unaffiliated), Paul Willmon (Unaffiliated). Due to limited space, we can only include responses if candidates poll over 15%, but encourage you to check out his website. To download a printable pdf version of this guide, click here.


Abortion: Mostly ban or mostly legal? 

Polis – Legal. Strong pro-choice advocate.

Stapleton – Mostly ban, with exceptions for rape, incest and life of mother. Won’t say if he’ll sign abortion restriction bills.

Campaign Finance: Require political ads to disclose their largest funders?

Polis – Yes. Co-sponsored DISCLOSE Act requiring full disclosure of independent expenditures.

Stapleton – Unknown.

Campaign Finance: Support Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited political donations from corporations and unions?

Polis – No. Has consistently sought to get campaign finance reform bills through Congress.

Stapleton – Unknown.

Climate Change: Consider climate change a critical threat, so limit the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? Support participation in U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of states committed to climate change action?

Polis – Yes to limiting greenhouse gases. Supports participation in Alliance. Introduced “100 by ‘50 Act” to transition to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2050.

Stapleton – No to limiting greenhouse gases. Says a major reason he is running is to “offer a full-throated defense of the state’s oil-and-gas industry against [those] that want it regulated more tightly.

Contraception: Let employers withhold contraceptive coverage from employees if disagree with it morally?

Polis – No.

Stapleton – Unknown.

Economy: Support Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese steel and other products?

Polis – Unknown.

Stapleton – No. Is concerned about escalating trade war hurting Colorado industries.

Education: Increase funding for K-12 education?

Polis – Yes. Advocates for increased across-the-board funding and preschool for all. Has also supported related levies and bonds and will continue to do so.

Stapleton – Yes. But “it is critical to ensure that these dollars actually make it into the classroom.”

Education: Support recent teachers’ strikes?

Polis – Yes. Stop underpaying teachers, “instead of criminalizing [their] right to…demand fair compensation.”

Stapleton – Unknown.

Education: Support providing vouchers or tax breaks to parents to send their children to private schools with public money?

Polis – “I’ve voted against vouchers every time they’ve come up in Congress. I don’t support diverting funds from public schools to private schools. Period.”

Stapleton – Yes. Advocates “school choice“ and believes “each student that gets … $10,000 in funding should take that money …& …do whatever they want.”

Elections: Support the 2 ballot measures to amend the Colorado constitution to explicitly prohibit gerrymandering?

Polis – Yes. Strongly supports.

Stapleton – Unknown.

Gay Rights: Support LGBT rights?

Polis – Yes. Supports same-sex marriage & would be 1st openly gay governor in US.

Stapleton – Unknown.

Gun Control: Support more restrictive gun control legislation? Restrict semi-automatic weapons?

Polis – Supports gun rights for defense & sport, but would ban bump stocks, end black market gun sales, temporarily suspend dangerous people’s access to firearms, & increase gun safety.

Stapleton  – No. Wants to repeal 2013  gun control laws & will oppose all efforts to limit guns. Supports letting law enforcement seize weapons from people deemed a threat.  

Healthcare: Support or Repeal ACA, aka Obamacare? Accept ACA’s Medicaid expansion to subsidize low-income participants? 

Polis – Keep ACA and improve it. Work toward universal single-payer system. Believes Medicaid expansion in Colorado has been an enormous success.

Stapleton – Repeal ACA & end Colorado’s Obamacare exchange. Shrinking Medicaid expansion would be among main changes he’d champion.

Healthcare: Let Planned Parenthood receive public funds for non-abortion health services?

Polis – Yes.

Stapleton – Unknown.

Immigration: Support DACA, allowing “Dreamers” who arrived illegally as children, then grew up in the US, to achieve legal status if meet certain conditions? Support path to citizenship for America’s 11 million illegal immigrants?

Polis – Yes. “Outraged” …by Trump’s “callous & short-sighted decision” to end DACA & “cast nearly 1 million aspiring Americans back into the shadows.” Supports earned path to citizenship for other illegal immigrants, combined with increased border protections.

Stapleton – Has said supports Trump proposals, which gave DACA recipients legal status but not path to citizenship in return for building the wall and tightening legal immigration. Has also supported deporting anyone in the country illegally.

Labor: Enact “right to work” law, eliminating the right of unions to mandate dues for workers they represent?

Polis – No. “Protect & expand collective bargaining rights while actively opposing attacks on organized labor.”

Stapleton – Unknown.

Marijuana: Keep marijuana legalization? 

Polis – Yes. The only candidate who supported legalization in 2012. Treat it like alcohol. Opposes Justice Department’s war against states with legalization.

Stapleton – Unknown. But is concerned about unintended consequences of legalization, including mental health issues.

Minimum Wage: Raise the minimum wage above $7.25/hour?

Polis – Yes. Also let municipalities raise the minimum wage in their area.

Stapleton – Unknown. But generally opposes regulation of business.

Net Neutrality: Support requiring internet providers to provide equal access to all users?

Polis – Yes. “To compete in the global economy, we need an internet that allows for free exchange of ideas.”

Stapleton – Unknown.

President Trump: Percentage of key votes supporting Trump’s positions while in Congress? Response to President Trump’s actions and policies?

Polis – 14.6% as of July 20, 2018. “With Trump moving us backward on so many issues, we really need bold leadership at the state level.”

Stapleton – Voting not applicable. Supports Trump “on virtually every issue” except tariffs.

Renewable Energy: Support government investment in renewable energy?

Polis – Yes. Increase regulatory incentives for energy efficiency & renewables.

Stapleton – No. Favors “free enterprise & open & competitive marketplace.”   

Taxes: Support President Trump’s proposed tax cuts?

Polis – No. “I proudly wrote the bill to repeal @RealDonaldTrump’s tax giveaways [to the wealthy].”

Stapleton – Yes. “I was the only treasurer in the country with the courage to support Donald Trump’s tax cuts.”

Voting Rights: Support stricter voting rules such as voter ID requirements or reduced registration times, even if they prevent some people from voting?

Polis – No. Voted to restore voting rights protections. Signed letter to Trump condemning stricter voter rules & asking to investigate voter suppression.

Stapleton – Unknown.