Campaign financeElection 2018EnvironmentNews

Conservation group pledges $3.2M against Stapleton, on statehouse races

Author: Colorado Politics - October 1, 2018 - Updated: October 1, 2018

Better Colorado Now StapletonColorado gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton. (Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics – file)

A Colorado environmental group’s political arm says it will spend $3.2 million in an effort to defeat Republican governor candidate Walker Stapleton and to support “pro-conservation candidates” to the state legislature.

Monday’s announcement is from Conservation Colorado Victory Fund (CCVF), an independent expenditure committee affiliated with Denver-based Conservation Colorado.

It says the $3.2 million program “will be the largest political program the committee has ever run. It will feature a robust field program to knock doors throughout the state and include a comprehensive digital and mail program to ensure voters know where candidates stand from the governor’s race to the state House.”

The CCVF says it is targeting Stapleton, currently the state treasurer, for his “full-throated defense” of Colorado’s oil and gas industry and because he has “spread misinformation about the high costs of renewable energy.”

Under election rules, the fund cannot coordinate its activities with any candidate. Monday’s announcement does not mention Stapleton’s Democratic opponent, Jared Polis, nor did it say which legislative races it will involve itself in.

“Colorado voters expect their governors to value our way of life and our land, air, and water as much as they do,” Kelly Nordini, the CCVF’s executive director, said in a statement. “Walker Stapleton seems to be almost completely focused on drilling for oil and gas rather than making Colorado a leader on renewable energy, clean air, and public lands.”

Stapleton’s issues statement on energy emphasizes his support for oil and gas, citing its benefits to the Colorado economy and jobs. While he has said he favors an “all of the above” energy plan for the state, he has attacked Polis for the Democrat’s call to convert Colorado power production to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.

“Congressman Polis has always been waiting for the right moment to launch an all-out attack on Colorado’s energy industry. If elected governor, the real Jared Polis will once again surface and destroy Colorado energy jobs,” Stapleton campaign spokesman said in a statement Aug. 22 after both candidates addressed the Colorado Oil and Gas Association on energy policy.

As Colorado Politics’ Joey Bunch has reported, Colorado’s oil and gas industry is directing the bulk of its collective political efforts this election cycle on defeating Proposition 112, a ballot measure that would restrict most new fossil-fuel development on non-federal lands in the state and less on the governor’s race. Both Stapleton and Polis have expressed opposition to 112.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics, formerly The Colorado Statesman, is the state's premier political news publication, renowned for its award-winning journalism. The publication is also the oldest political news outlet in the state, in continuous publication since 1898. Colorado Politics covers the stories behind the stories in Colorado's state Capitol and across the Centennial State, focusing on politics, public policy and elections with in-depth reporting on the people behind the campaigns — from grassroots supporters to campaign managers and the candidates and issues themselves.