Walker Stapleton’s empty parking spot becomes the latest set piece for Colorado’s governor race, now in full, theatrical swing

So… where’s Jared?
3 min. read
A pro-Jared Polis crowd speaks out during a rally on Walker Stapleton’s state treasurer parking spot at the Capitol on Friday, Sept. 7, in Denver. (Esteban L. Hernandez)

We’re less than two months away from this fall’s general election, which means the back-and-forth between gubernatorial candidates Jared Polis and Walker Stapleton is about to intensify, both on and off your various screens. Things might even get a little personal.

Like, taking your parking spot personal.

On Friday, Democrats added another photo-op to their “Where Is Walker?” campaign after holding a presser with workers in front of Stapleton’s empty parking spot at the Capitol. They wanted to know where Stapleton, who also serves as state treasurer, was on Friday morning. Both campaigns have made it a point this week to call out the candidates' attendance records at their day jobs.

It turns out Stapleton was en route to Grand Junction, where Polis was most definitely not headed.

The Western Slope is the epicenter of Colorado politics this weekend. That's because the Club 20 debates Polis famously snubbed will take place on Saturday. Other candidates in statewide and congressional races from both parties are schedule to speak as well, (Polis tried sending a surrogate, but Club 20, already irked at his absence, said nah.) The event provides residents from 22 counties in the Western Slope a chance to hear the next crop of statewide and federal figureheads.

So where will Polis be tomorrow? Campaign spokesperson Mara Sheldon said Polis was on his way back to Colorado from Washington on Friday. He will do some campaign activities on Saturday morning before attending to a family commitment in the afternoon. Sheldon said this commitment is why he can't attend Club 20's debate. His running mate, Dianne Primavera, is scheduled to be in Telluride tomorrow, presumably eating some 'za while chatting up the locals.

So who has missed more work? Polis or Stapleton?

Stapleton claimed on Twitter that Polis, who represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, has the worst attendance record among the state’s delegation.

The independent Govtrack website shows Polis missed 33.2 percent of votes between April and June of this year. Polis' overall voting record since taking office, from Jan. 2009 to Sept. 2018, shows he's missed about 5.4 percent of all roll call votes, which the site says, "is much worse than the median of 2.4 percent among the lifetime records of representatives currently serving."

Meanwhile, Polis’ people — well, you already know what they did. They launched an entire website complete with a Stapleton-turned-Waldo caricature.

They claim Stapleton attended just 55 percent of the Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado meetings, which is the board overseeing the benefit program for state workers.

Though he didn't comment on Stapleton's attendance record, campaign spokesperson Jerrod Dobkin said in an email Friday that Stapleton has been a leading voice on PERA reform for the past eight years. He said Stapleton, “reformed Colorado’s debt process and led a bipartisan bill to consolidate the debt and bring more accountability and transparency to the process."

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