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Truth Test: Democrats race gets dirtier despite pledge

Some would call what Polis did a smear -- the kind of smear both these candidates promised they wouldn't allow in this race.
Polis and Kennedy Photo: The Gazette/Colorado Politics file photos

KUSA - The Democrats running for governor pledged to run a clean and positive campaign, but that pledge seems to have gotten in the way of winning. Now the gloves are off.

Jared Polis didn't like the tone of an ad from a group called “Teachers for Kennedy,” which attacked him over his support of a pilot program for school vouchers years ago.

Vouchers are government money to help pay for kids to go to private school and they're wildly unpopular with liberals.

READ MORE | Recap of the second Democratic gubernatorial debate

Now Team Polis has two ads hitting back at Kennedy: one from Polis' official campaign and another from a group called “Bold Colorado.”

Like Teachers for Kennedy, Bold Colorado is the state equivalent of a Super PAC and is allowed to accept unlimited donations as long as it doesn’t coordinate with Polis.

Despite the ban on coordination, the Polis campaign and his group of supporters sing a remarkably similar tune.

CLAIM: “[Kennedy] broke her word” (Polis campaign ad) and Cary Kennedy is “breaking her pledge.” (Bold Colorado ad)


As we explained before, Cary Kennedy did sign a clean campaign pledge from the state Democratic party.

In the pledge, she promises to "encourage my supporters or volunteers to refrain from engaging in personal attacks or smears against the other Democrats in this primary race."

The pledge also says, "I understand that primary attacks are short-sighted because I will need the support of the other candidates and their supporters to win a General Election, if I am the primary nominee."

Yet Kennedy’s supporters did attack other Democrats in the race-- and rather than denounce that attack, Kennedy defended it and falsely claimed that she doesn't have the right to denounce it because of campaign finance laws.

Previous TruthTest:

Team Polis has one more bone to pick about that attack:

CLAIM: The attacks in question are “Cary Kennedy's false attacks against Jared Polis.”


This is false on two points.

First, it wasn't Cary Kennedy who attacked Jared Polis. It was a group of her supporters who legally can't work together with her to do said attacking.

And second, that attack against Jared Polis wasn't false.

He did, in fact, publicly support a small pilot program for school vouchers 15 years ago.

The pro-Kennedy group did not make that up. It's not flat-out false. They just left out some important context in order to make him seem like an all-around pro-voucher guy, which he's not.

Polis has repeatedly voted against vouchers in Congress.

Kennedy’s supporters also left out the fact that Kennedy herself did lobbying work for a group that supported the same voucher pilot program he did.

BOTTOM LINE: It's fair game for the Polis campaign and his allies to call out Cary Kennedy for breaking the clean campaign pledge.

She promised to call out her supporters if they got nasty - and she didn't. But you should also know Jared Polis also signed that very same pledge.

Not only does his campaign throw some nastiness right back at her, they make a pair of false arguments to do it.

Some would call that a smear-- the kind of smear both these candidates promised they wouldn't allow in this race.

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