Democrat Jared Polis and Republican Walker Stapleton on Monday laid out the gubernatorial debates they’re willing to attend. Now the haggling on the dates, venues and questions begins.

Both campaigns say they have been inundated with requests to appear at debates and other joint events.

Polis issued a press release Monday afternoon challenging Stapleton to 13 debates and forums. The campaign also announced that Polis’ former primary challengers — Mike Johnston, Cary Kennedy and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne — will serve as surrogates for Polis at three other events — a move evidently aimed at putting to rest whether the party is fractured after the contentious primary that featured attack ads and counter-attack ads.

Both campaigns favor doing a debate put on by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and other partners if they can agree on a date.

Two debates will be in Colorado Springs, one sponsored by The Gazette and the other by KOAA.

In all, the campaigns have five debates in common on their lists, including one in Pueblo and three television station-led debates in Denver.

“Voters in every community across Colorado deserve to know how we plan to address the biggest challenges facing their families — from rising expenses and flat paychecks, to the cost of health care, to the need for better funding for our public schools,” Polis said in a statement. “I am excited to attend these 13 debates and forums and discuss my positive vision to fight for a Colorado where every family has the opportunity to get ahead.”

“I look forward to debating Congressman Polis across Colorado and will use these opportunities to show the stark contrast between our two visions,” Stapleton said in a statement. “My message of economic opportunity is resonating with voters, and Coloradans understand Congressman Polis’ policies will lead to job losses, higher taxes, and economic ruin for our state.

“I hope Congressman Polis will accept these debates and join me in discussing the important issues facing Coloradans and our very different visions for addressing them.”

Colorado Politics senior political reporter

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