Jared Polis chooses former state Rep. Dianne Primavera as gubernatorial running mate

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis speaks to press during a unity rally backing him on the Capitol steps, June 29, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis speaks to press during a unity rally backing him on the Capitol steps, June 29, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Democratic gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Jared Polis has chosen his running mate, former state Rep. Dianne Primavera, his campaign announced Monday.

Polis said in a release that Coloradans couldn’t ask for a tougher lieutenant governor than Primavera, a native Coloradan who currently serves as CEO of breast cancer prevention, treatment, research and education nonprofit Susan G. Komen Colorado.

“Dianne is a fighter who has proven she gets results,” Polis said in the release. “She’s fought cancer four separate times and survived. She’s fought for affordable health care for Colorado families when they needed it most. She’s fought for dignity and opportunity for disabled men and women. Coloradans deserve a lieutenant governor who will always put them first and who will stop at nothing to help our communities thrive. Dianne has proven again and again throughout her life that she is the fighter Colorado deserves.”

Primavera previously served four times in the state legislature, representing a district encompassing Broomfield, Superior and parts of Erie.

She said in the release Monday that she’s “humbled” by the opportunity to serve alongside Polis.

“Jared’s entire life has been about turning bold ideas into real results for Colorado families, whether as an entrepreneur creating jobs, as an education leader building schools, or as a representative fighting to expand affordable health care to millions — an issue that’s incredibly personal to me and to thousands of other Coloradans,” Primavera said in the release. “This campaign is about putting Coloradans first, and I can’t wait to begin meeting with folks in every corner of our state about the challenges facing their families and how we can come together to solve them.”

The focus now shifts to State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, the Republican nominee, and his potential running mate.

Stapleton’s campaign manager, Michael Fortney, said Monday that they will announce their pick in “a couple of weeks.”

By law, the gubernatorial candidates are required to offer the lieutenant governor’s position within seven days after the primary election, meaning the deadline for this is Tuesday. But they’re under no legal obligation to reveal who they’ve offered the nomination to, Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert said. The selected nominee has to send a letter to the Secretary of State notifying the office that they’ve accepted the nomination within 30 days after the primary.

The lieutenant governor’s position is the second-highest elected seat in Colorado, though a lieutenant governor can also be appointed. Current Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, who unsuccessfully ran against Polis in the Democratic primary, was appointed and later confirmed by the General Assembly in May 2016.

Lynne replaced Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, who stepped down to pursue a job in higher education.

Polis started teasing the announcement with a series of clues on Monday released from one of his three Twitter accounts. His first clue was that the candidate was a native Coloradan. The second one said the person has two dogs and two fish.

Polis already feels his camp is ahead, due in part to some favorable polling.

It’s still too early to establish a favorite between the two, but Democrats didn’t waste any time trying to do that anyway.

A Public Policy Polling poll — commissioned by Colorado Democratic Party — released three days after the primary showed Polis with an 8-point lead over Stapleton (46 percent to 38 percent) among likely general election voters. The poll also showed a 12-point lead for Polis among unaffiliated voters. Polis also did slightly better than Stapleton in favorability, earning a 35 percent “favorable” opinion compared to 27 percent for the Republican candidate.

One point Polis’ camp wasn’t quick to mention: The poll showed 33 percent of respondents had an “unfavorable” view of Polis, compared to 42 percent for Stapleton

“Jared has a proven track record of getting results,” a release from Polis campaign said on Monday. “He started several successful businesses and created hundreds of jobs. He started and ran schools for at-risk youth and founded and a nonprofit dedicated to helping veterans get jobs. His experience and vision give him a strong lead heading into the general election.”