Gov. Jared Polis refuses to rule out presidential nomination | governor

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis became engaged in a conversation about his future presidential prospects while appearing on HBO’s political talk show Real Time with Bill Maher last week.

While Maher has criticized the Democratic Party for allegedly over-emphasizing identity and diversity in its candidates, Maher suggested that Polis’ sexuality — he’s an openly gay man — would be at an advantage “if you’re running for president.”

“The Democratic Party is very strong at ticking boxes, and it’s very hard to imagine a ticket now on the Democrat side that would only have two straight white males,” Maher said. “They have to tick boxes, you tick one of them.”

After Polis brushed off the allegation and pitched for Colorado’s tourism industry, Maher asked him directly about his interest in the office.

“So you’re never going to run for President?” Maher asked.

“I love this job that I have. This is the job I wanted,” Polis replied.

Polis has in the past rebuffed when asked about his interest in running for president, stating, as he had on Maher’s show, that he is focused on his role as Governor of Colorado. Still, he’s a mainstay on the shortlists that identify potential candidates for 2024.

The comedian also compared Polis to Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who recently made national headlines as a possible GOP presidential nominee for former President Donald Trump’s rival in 2024.

Maher praised Polis for his landslide re-election victory — he won 58.5% of the vote — noting that one of the only other governors to be re-elected by a similar majority was DeSantis, who received 59.4% of the vote. The comparisons didn’t stop there, and Maher said both Polis and DeSantis are “much more hands-on than many governors” when it comes to COVID-19 regulations.

The budget legislature showers Polis with numerous questions about spending priorities

“You could be Democrat DeSantis,” Maher said.

“I don’t like to think of myself like that,” Polis replied. “He’s smart in politics, he’s got some things right. What I don’t really like about (DeSantis) — and I’ve ministered a bit in the house with Ron — is a kind of division, attacking people, attacking corporations. Colorado is for everyone. I ran Colorado for everyone.”

Hailing his achievements during his first term as governor, Polis listed economic policies including ending the income tax on Social Security, eliminating the sales tax on diapers, and reducing income and property taxes. He also emphasized personal responsibility as his COVID-19 policy, saying, “It’s up to people to take their own precautions.”

Maher welcomed this stance and also raised a bill Polis signed into law earlier this year that updated child abuse and neglect laws to allow children to participate in reasonably independent and safe activities, such as: For example, walking to and from school, playing outside, or staying home alone.

“It’s common sense,” Maher said. “That sounds more like a liberalist. … Does the Democratic Party have a problem with that? It used to be that you could be a libertarian and a liberal at the same time, I feel like that’s over.”

Polis defended the Democratic Party as more pro-liberty and liberty than the Republican Party, saying Republicans are “trying to micromanage what you do in your bedroom, who you love, when you have kids, all these very intimate things.”

Polis also spoke about the struggles he faced as a gay man when running for public office, saying senior Democratic statesmen tried to persuade him not to run because he “passed our state to the Republicans would lose, our state will never elect anyone who is gay.”

“The people of Colorado have said it doesn’t matter. We are interested in what you stand for and what you will do,” said Polis. “And you see, it’s not a bad thing that the Democratic Party wants to look like America. … People should be able to look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘There’s someone like me in Congress, or someone like me on the Supreme Court.’ It’s good. … These barriers that are still in people’s heads, that somehow I can’t do that, I think they’re falling away.”

Maher ended the interview by wishing Polis “good luck in her bid for the presidency.”

Colorado leaders were honored with the 2022 Governor's Citizenship Medals