Stapleton not afraid to attack Polis during busy debate weekend

DENVER -- Down in the polls, Republican Walker Stapleton came out fiery against Democrat Jared Polis in the first major forum of a busy debate weekend Friday.

The Republican and Democratic nominees for governor will square off four times between now and Monday.

Friday morning, the two met at the Denver Chamber of Commerce at a breakfast of several hundred business and political leaders.

The duo will meet at a another debate Friday evening and then two more times in Grand Junction and Pueblo during the holiday weekend.

During the debate, Stapleton attacked Polis for being too radical on multiple occasions.

"I know John Hickenlooper and you are no John Hickenlooper --- you are radical, an extreme departure from John Hickenlooper," Stapleton said.

Polis responded, "You're right, he's a bit of a lefty," to which Stapleton said, "I will get my three seconds back that you just stole from me."

"I think Walker spent most of his time talking about me like he usually does, but he often is attacking somebody he's not running against," Polis said. "In Congress, I have a track record of a moderate."

From there the two were as different as their wardrobe, Polis in his traditional polo and sports jacket, Stapleton in his shirt and tie.

Health care

"Under Walker Stapleton's plan to end the exchanges and reduce medicaid expansion not only would hundreds of thousands of Coloradans be kicked off of health care they have today but it would drive up rates for the rest of us," Polis said.

"If John Hickenlooper was a left fielder you would be a fielder on the other side of the fence," Stapleton said.

"My North Star on health care ideas -- whether it's from the left right or center -- does it reduce cost, expand coverage or does it expand or improve quality," Polis said.

"It would double the state of Colorado's income taxes  -- $32 trillion it would cost,"  Stapleton said.


"I've talked about taxing sports gambling; it's estimated to bring in $150 billion nationwide," Stapleton said.

Polis countered, saying he is interested in the proposal but that it would not bring in a measurable amount of cash.

"Even if we have the same revenue figures that Nevada had, it would take 600 years from sports betting to fund infrastructure today," Polis said.

Both candidates did not speak in favor of their hosts -- the Denver Chamber of Commerce -- and its sales tax increase ballot measure.

"There are several ballot positions I have taken a position on -- that's not one of them. I applaud their effort -- it is not what I would do," Polis said.

"I'm concerned about the sales tax initiative because less than 60 percent of funding would go to roads and bridges," Stapleton said.

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