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Democrat Polis selects two top campaign aides in gubernatorial bid

July 31, 2017 Updated: July 31, 2017 at 2:20 pm
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photo - Democrat Polis selects two top campaign aides in gubernatorial bid (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Democrat Polis selects two top campaign aides in gubernatorial bid (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis announced that two women will lead the management of his campaign.

Jenn Ridder, a well-known operative within Democratic circles, will take the position of campaign manager, and Lisa Kaufmann, a long-time Polis staffer who ascended to chief of staff, will assume the role of chair of the campaign.

Ridder, a Colorado native, previously worked with Democratic congressional campaigns across Colorado as the Mountain West political director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC.

Ridder also served as the political director for President Obama's re-election campaign in Colorado and served as deputy campaign manager for former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, who lost re-election in 2014.

"As a tech entrepreneur, businessman, and community leader, Jared's a progressive who gets things done," Ridder said. "Colorado needs that now more than ever, which is why I'm excited to work with him as he continues to fight for Colorado families."

Kaufmann will leave Polis' congressional staff to serve full-time with the campaign. She has previously worked in several positions on Polis' staff during her 10-year tenure with the congressman. She served as a personal assistant, campaign manager, and chief of staff.

"It's a blessing to have the opportunity to continue to work with a principled leader who has a bold vision for the future of the state I love," Kaufmann said.

"I am excited to have Lisa and Jenn at the top of my leadership team as our people-powered, grassroots campaign continues to grow," Polis added in a statement. "Together we will bring a bold vision for Colorado's future to deliver real results Coloradans deserve on 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, free preschool and kindergarten statewide, and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top."

The already crowded Democratic race for Colorado governor took a turn earlier in July when U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Arvada dropped out. Perlmutter was believed to be the front-runner. His departure presented a clearer path for Polis.

Also in the race are former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy of Denver, former state Sen. Mike Johnston of Denver and Denver civics leader Noel Ginsburg. Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne is seriously considering jumping into the race, which could shake it up again.

Polis, a 42-year-old millionaire from Boulder, has a financial advantage in the race, but some political analysts question his ability to win a statewide election, as he tends to lean further to the left in a middle-of-the-road state.

The Republican field for governor has been slower to grow. District Attorney George Brauchler, entrepreneur and former state Rep. Victor Mitchell, and investment banker Doug Robinson, who also happens to be Mitt Romney's nephew, currently dominate the race.

But more high-profile Republican names are expected to enter the primary, including State Treasurer Walker Stapleton. Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is also seriously considering a run on the Republican ticket.

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