Republican Heidi Ganahl files to face Jared Polis in 2022

Heidi Ganahl, the only Republican to hold a statewide elected office, filed Friday as a candidate for governor, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

Ganahl is an entrepreneur who founded the pet care service Camp Bow Wow and currently serves as a University of Colorado regent.

She told Colorado Politics she is making an “announcement” Tuesday in Monument, but did not specify what she’d say. The filing shows a “Heidi for Governor” candidate committee, which is the finance arm of a campaign.

Ganahl declined to comment further on her candidacy to a Denver Post reporter at the CU Board of Regents meeting Friday. She did say, however, that she intends to continue in her role as a regent.

The Douglas County resident has long been preparing for a run, penning regular columns in the Colorado Springs Gazette that take aim at the Democratic leadership and hosting a statewide podcast program.

Republican leaders have told The Post they expect Ganahl won’t have a serious primary opponent on her path to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in November 2022.

“I cannot imagine that anyone else would amass the gravitas that she’d have going into that,” House Minority Leader Hugh McKean said.

GOP state Sen. Paul Lundeen of Monument, where Ganahl lived as a child, said he’s excited to have a “hometown hero” in the race. He said he expects she will run on public safety, school choice and making Colorado more affordable.

Should Ganahl win, she would be Colorado’s first female governor. Colorado is one of just five states to never have elected a woman as a U.S. senator or governor.

But Polis is known for spending extravagantly to win and defend his political seats. Add his incumbent status, polling popularity and voter-registration advantage in an increasingly blue state, and he’ll be tough to beat. Ganahl acknowledged that this summer when she told The Post that running against Polis is a “moonshot.”

Republicans are at their post-World War II electoral nadir in Colorado, controlling zero statewide offices and neither chamber of the legislature. But they’ve struggled in the gubernatorial contest for decades, well before Colorado’s recent shift to the left. Bill Owens is the only Republican since 1975 to be elected governor.

Denver Post reporter Bruce Finley contributed. 

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