President Donald Trump appears in a new TV ad for Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton.
Stapleton’s campaign started airing the 30-second commercial May 14. It describes the two-term state treasurer as "a conservative who gets things done." The campaign is spending an initial $700,000 on the ad, which will run statewide on broadcast and cable.
"As Colorado’s treasurer, I stopped the largest tax increase in state history, and I led the fight against a single-payer health care system – and we won again," a smiling Stapleton says in the ad, which also pictures his wife, Jenna, and their three young children.
Then Trump and Vice President Mike Pence smile and wave as they briefly cross the screen. Stapleton brings up two key issues for Trump supporters – the Republican tax reform bill and sanctuary cities.
"I was the only (state) treasurer in the country with the courage to support Donald Trump’s tax cuts, and as your next governor, I’ll end these dangerous sanctuary city policies. I’ll take the fight to the liberals and beat ’em again," Stapleton says.
But several other state treasurers publicly backed the tax measure, so that assertion is "false," said a "Truth Test" report by Brandon Rittiman of 9News.
While Trump lost Colorado to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 by nearly 5 percentage points, the president remains solidly popular among state Republicans, who begin mail-in primary voting in early June.
The state’s Republican primary voters overwhelmingly approve of the job Trump is doing and think the next governor’s top priority should be enforcing federal immigration laws, says a poll by Magellan Strategies, a Colorado-based firm.
Three other Republican gubernatorial candidates are on the primary ballot: businessman and former legislator Victor Mitchell, retired investment advisor Doug Robinson and restaurant owner and former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez.
Stapleton’s ad buy amounts to about half of the $1.5 million or so spent by Mitchell so far on an ongoing TV and radio campaign that began in early April. Robinson has spent $62,000 on TV ads, say media consultants, but Lopez has yet to buy broadcast or cable time.
Stapleton’s ad buy accounts for a hefty share of the $831,000 that his campaign reported it had on hand at the beginning of May.
The ad is scheduled to run through the primary, but its frequency likely will increase as the campaign raises more money in coming weeks, a campaign spokesman told Colorado Politics.
Better Colorado Now, a super PAC supporting Stapleton, went on the air with a six-figure ad buy touting Stapleton’s conservative credentials during the first week of April.
The proposed tax increase referenced by Stapleton was Amendment 66, a 2013 ballot measure that would have established a two-tier income tax system in Colorado and raised an additional $1 billion for education. Voters defeated it by about 30 points.
In 2016, voters overwhelmingly defeated Amendment 69, a proposed single-payer health care plan opposed by officials and organizations across the political spectrum.