The thing about must-do political events like the Club 20 debate for gubernatorial candidates, is the candidates themselves must actually attend and debate each other on issues important to the Western Slope.

So we were shocked when Democrat Jared Polis announced he would not participate — because the event scheduled more than a year ago conflicted with his schedule that was set a few weeks ago.

We are not surprised in the least that Club 20 has decided Polis’s proposed substitute, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, will not be permitted to debate Western Slope issues in his stead.

Not just because it’s a snub to the 500 folks that attend this event and the entire Western Slope, it’s simply never been done. The executive committee decided in a meeting today this unprecedented request will not be granted.

Not now. Not ever. Not for Jared Polis, not for the Lt. Gov., not nobody.

“We expect the next potential governor of Colorado to represent ALL of Colorado and campaign vigorously throughout the state to learn the issues impacting RURAL communities,” Cindy Dozier, Club 20 board chair said in a statement to Peak Politics.

“Congressman Polis’ decision not to honor the citizens of Western Colorado by participating in our debates is simply outrageous and we continue to ask for his reconsideration,” Dozier said.

Polis has not commented on Club 20’s decision, but Colorado Politics reports this reaction from Republican Walker Stapleton’s campaign:

“It’s incredibly arrogant that Congressman Polis decided not to attend the Club 20 debate himself and assumed sending a surrogate would suffice,” said Stapleton spokesman Jerrod Dobkin. “Rural Colorado expects more than a stand-in governor. Walker looks forward to partaking in this important Colorado political tradition to discuss Western Slope issues.”

Arrogant, yes. Don’t forget pompous, disrespectful, and cowardly.

Since Polis expects to buy this campaign with him own multi millions, he thinks that excuses him from mingling with rural folks who he apparently believes are below his station, and aren’t worthy of his time now, nor if he’s elected to office.

Shame on Polis.