Congressman Jared Polis has spent an unprecedented amount money on his campaign for governor. By the latest count, he’s donated $18.3 million of his own money. That’s more than the total candidate spending in the 2014 gubernatorial race. The Democratic nominee says self-financing buys him political independence. Unlike his opponent, he refuses donations from corporations and special interests, which he argues frees him to push bold proposals. Meanwhile, Republican nominee Walker Stapleton accuses Polis of trying to buy the election. These opposing talking points raise bigger questions. What does it mean for democracy when someone is ready, and able, to spend whatever it takes on a campaign? How does that change the dynamics of a race? And where does it leave voters? This episode looks back at the origin of the candidate’s fortune and how it’s long been a potent force in Colorado politics. And we’ll explore why he’s likely to be far from the last wealthy candidate in the state or the country.
Colorado is known as a purple state for good reason.
Over the last two decades, the state has voted for an equal number of Republicans and Democrats for president, and voters are evenly split between Republicans, Democrats and Independents.
But this year, the state’s political identity is up for grabs. Democrats want to prove it has become more of a blue state, but Republicans could show it’s more of a red state than anyone realized. So….it’s not so much red or blue...or even purple. It’s Purpl...ish.
Hosted by CPR News Reporter Sam Brasch, this podcast dives into the ...ish. Each week until Election Day 2018, he'll ask a big question about Colorado’s democracy and where it might be headed next. Subscribe and learn how state government can be fun, or at least fun-ish.
In Colorado, voters have incredible power to pass laws at the ballot. The initiative process was born out of the Progressive Era. Reformers hoped that by giving people a say in state government, they could check special interests and their influence over lawmakers. Things haven't gone exactly as planned. Today, the initiative process is often Colorado's highest-stakes political poker game, attracting a wide range of corporations and wealthy donors. So has direct democracy made Colorado voters into scientists in the laboratory of democracy? Or the test subjects?
“Purplish” is a show about Colorado's democracy ahead of the 2018 election. The podcast, hosted by Colorado Public Radio reporter Sam Brasch, goes behind the headlines to ask big questions about state government. Each episode hones in on a puzzling piece of news around the election. Explanations come from CPR reporters, experts and voters. The goal is to provide the context that’s often left out of election coverage. Rather than cover the horse race, it tells stories about how democracy works in Colorado and where it might be headed next.