For most Republicans, Jared Polis was seen as having a seat for life in Congress. He was one of the wealthiest members in office and sat in a safe district centered in the People's Republic of Boulder. That conventional wisdom is now being chucked out the window. Two major events have shifted the possible trajectory of Polis' political career.
One is serious claims of ethical impropriety against Polis for personally profiting from insider trading in Congress. The second is the likely entrance into the 2nd CD race of Eric Weissmann, a Republican investment banker from Boulder. The Colorado Statesman first reported talk of his possible candidacy back in December.
In a new book by Peter Schweitzer called "Throw Them All Out," Polis gets special attention for his insider trading revolving around Obamacare.
Todd Shepherd of Complete Colorado first reported this issue all the way back in September 2009.
From an excerpt printed in The Denver Post yesterday:
In all, Polis put between $7 million and $35 million into the company as the health care bill wended its way through Capitol Hill. When investment timing was crucial, Polis's purchases often coincided with the work of his committees. As the Education and Labor Committee considered health care reform in June and July, he made two large purchases of company stock, worth between $1 million and $5 million, on June 16 and 17. His committee passed the health care bill in mid-July. By October 2009, it was Polis's powerful Rules Committee that was determining which amendments would be considered and what the parameters of the debate would be as the House worked to pass the same legislation that was moving forward in the Senate. On October 13 and 23, Polis made two more purchases of shares worth between $1 million and $5 million.
Schweitzer clearly outlines activity that outside Congress would be patently illegal. Unfortunately, Congress rarely, if ever, holds itself to the same standards it places in law for the rest of the nation to follow. With disgust with Congress at an all time high, insider trading claims against Polis will be particularly resonant.
And he will have a well-heeled challenger to level those claims.
Multiple sources tell the Peak that Weissmann is getting closer to entering the race against Polis. State Senator Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) has also announced a CD2 bid, but has also said his number one goal is defeating Polis.
Republican delegates and potentially primary voters will get to decide who is better suited to defeating Polis, but we're betting that should Weissmann pony up big and prove to be a solid candidate on the stump, GOPers will gladly give him the reins to take on the incumbent Boulder liberal.
There hasn't been a solid CD2 Republican challenger since the late 90s when GOP Boulder Mayor Bob Greenlee gave Mark Udall a run for his money. Democrats are simply not used to defending this seat.
CD2 after redistricting is slightly more favorable towards Republicans. It is a mirror image in partisan performance percentage of CD3, a seat national Democrats are targeting, with Dems holding a ten-point advantage.
A well run media campaign and solid messenger as a candidate, that focuses on Polis' corrupt dealings in Congress, could do some real damage.
This is a striking turn of events. After Democrats tore the current Congressional district map to shreds, all in the name of gerrymandering CD6 to imperil Congressman Mike Coffman, it is looking like 2012 will be a harder year for Democrats than 2010.
Republicans now look likely to hold onto their 4-3 Congressional delegation majority, Coffman has yet to get a serious challenger, and now there is the opportunity to pick off Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis with well-funded challenger campaigns.
We're pretty sure Mark Grueskin did not plan it this way.