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Republican George Brauchler announces energy industry support for gubernatorial campaign

Author: Ernest Luning - September 28, 2017 - Updated: September 28, 2017

District Attorney George Brauchler, a Republican candidate for governor in the 2018 election, addresses the Arapahoe County GOP assembly on March 29, 2016, in Englewood. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)District Attorney George Brauchler, a Republican candidate for governor in the 2018 election, addresses the Arapahoe County GOP assembly on March 29, 2016, in Englewood. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Several leaders in Colorado’s energy industry on Thursday announced they’re supporting  Republican gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler, the 18th Judicial District attorney.

“George Brauchler understands the importance of Colorado’s oil and gas community and its significant impact on Colorado’s economy,” said Ted Brown, CEO of Denver-based energy consulting firm Confluence Resources.

The other industry figures backing Brauchler include Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance; Peter Moore, chairman and CEO of Vital for Colorado; Stephen Flaherty, director of state and local government affairs for Halliburton; Dan Spancers, managing principal of FORZA Energy Group; and Jack Ekstrom, founder of consulting firm PolicyWorks America.

“George will be an effective leader on issues pertaining to safe oil and gas development and will work with the industry to move Colorado forward and build on the state’s leadership in growing production and reducing industry’s footprint,” said Ekstrom, a former chairman of the Western Energy Alliance and past president of the Denver Petroleum Club.

Pointing to the size of the fossil fuel industry in Colorado’s economy — the Colorado Petroleum Council estimates oil and gas pump more than $31 billion into the state’s economy, with more than 1,000 companies accounting for 7 percent of the state’s workforce — Brauchler said the support of industry leaders means a lot to his campaign.

Brauchler also took a swing at one of the leading Democratic gubernatorial candidates, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis.

“Extreme liberals, such as Congressman Jared Polis, have made it clear that they seek to destroy Colorado’s oil and gas sector, at the expense of Colorado’s economy and the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of hard-working Coloradans,” Brauchler said in a statement. “With real leadership, Colorado can safely extract our natural resources, grow our economy, create jobs and preserve our environment.”

Polis came under similar fire from Brauchler’s primary rival State Treasurer Walker Stapleton this week, but a campaign spokesman for the Democrat scoffed at the criticism.

“While the Republican candidates compete for special interest dollars, Jared is standing up for workers and protecting the health, safety, and jobs of Colorado families, not industry lobbyists,” Mara Sheldon, the Polis campaign’s communications director, told Colorado Politics.

In addition to Brauchler and Stapleton, Republicans running to replace term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper include entrepreneur and former state lawmaker Victor Mitchell, former investment banker and Mitt Romney nephew Doug Robinson, former Denver County Trump campaign co-chair Steve Barlock, former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez and Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter. Four prominent state Republicans have also said they’re considering joining the field: Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, former CSU Athletic Director Jack Graham and businessman Barry Farah.

The other Democrats in the race are Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy and businessman Noel Ginsburg.

Next year’s primary election is June 26.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.