Proof that the 2018 race for Colorado governor is heating up: the appearance of the first website in which one candidate makes fun of the other.
The initial shot has been fired by Democratic Party nominee Jared Polis and his campaign, who've launched Where Is Walker?, a site that needles Republican Party selection Walker Stapleton for his dubious attendance record during his stint as Colorado Treasurer.
Also spoofed are Stapleton's boasts about being a "fourth-generation Coloradan." Although Stapleton is the great-grandson of former Denver mayor (and onetime member of the local Ku Klux Klan) Ben Stapleton, he grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, as was pointed out in June by Westword contributor and onetime Greenwich resident Chris Bianchi. Stapleton lived in Connecticut until he was 29.
The site answers the question "Where is Walker?" with a parenthetical reply: "(Hint: he's definitely not at work)." That's followed by audio of Stapleton talking about his reaction to inclement weather: "If there's rain or snow, I might as well stay in bed for an extra hour or hang out at home, because I'm not going to get to work."
Here's the clip:
Marijuana Deals Near You
Next up for ridicule is Stapleton's record of making it to meetings of Colorado's Public Employees Retirement Association, shorthanded as PERA. Though overseeing the program is among Stapleton's "primary responsibilities," the site maintains, he is said to have sat in on 41 out of 74 get-togethers by the PERA board, or around 55 percent.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The site calculates Stapleton's commute from his home to the Colorado State Treasurer office at about thirteen miles and contrasts the distance to the 1,476 miles between the metro area and Washington, D.C., where Polis has been present for 94 percent of congressional votes.
Other questions posed by the website — including "Is Walker at School?," "Is Walker in the Outdoors?" and "Is Walker Fighting to Improve Health Care?" — are offered up as an opportunity to contrast Stapleton's stances on education, public lands and Medicaid expansion with Polis's positions on the issues.
"While Coloradans across our state are working harder for less, Walker Stapleton collects a full-time salary as state Treasurer but barely puts in part-time hours,” argues Polis for Colorado spokesperson Mara Sheldon, corresponding via email. "When he does show up, he supports policies that hurt hardworking Coloradans — like taking money away from public schools and giving it to prisons, ripping away health care from hundreds of thousands of Coloradans while raising costs for everyone else, and forcing police officers, teachers and firefighters who depend on pensions to 'suffer' when they retire."
Will Stapleton be amused by the website? We've reached out to his representatives and will update this post when and if one of them gets back to us. But thus far, his backers have been hard to reach. We've made repeated requests to interview Lang Sias, his pick for lieutenant governor, but have yet to receive a response. And when Westword editor Patricia Calhoun attempted to introduce herself to Stapleton on August 28 during the annual Denver Rustlers event, he told her, "I don't do extemporaneous interviews. It doesn't work out for me. Talk to my people," before trotting off into the crowd without shaking her hand.