Heidi Ganahl Foothills Republicans

Douglas County Republican Heidi Ganahl, an at-large University of Colorado regent, talks with members of Jefferson County's Foothills Republicans at the club's monthly luncheon on Thursday, June 10, 2021, in Golden.

University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl let the cat out of the bag early by filing paperwork Friday afternoon to run for Colorado governor, four days before a scheduled event the Republican has been teasing as an announcement about her political future.

Colorado's sole Republican statewide officeholder has been hinting for months that she was preparing to challenge Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in the 2022 election but declined to elaborate in a brief interview about her plans Thursday night with Colorado Politics.

A registration form for the Heidi for Governor committee dated Sept. 10 showed up on the Colorado Secretary of State's TRACER campaign finance site on Friday, listing Sam Schafer as her registered agent and longtime GOP compliance expert Marjorie Klein as the campaign's registered filing agent.

The document ended speculation among Republicans and other political observers that Ganahl might run for another office, such as state treasurer or the U.S. Senate.

“I’m making a big announcement on Tuesday in the town where I grew up, Monument," Ganahl said late Thursday, adding, "I love Colorado and our future is too important to risk."

For months, Ganahl, a nonprofit head and founder of a national dog day care chain, has been making a case against Polis in speeches at Republican clubs and in a column that ran in The Denver Gazette, a sister publication of Colorado Politics.

Through a spokeswoman, Ganahl on Friday afternoon said in a statement: “It’s time to fight for our Colorado way of life we love. Coloradans agree. Look at the latest polls — for the first time in more than a decade Colorado voters think we’re on the wrong track."

Added Ganahl: "Stay tuned on Tuesday for more.”

There's a chance Ganahl's event in Monument could occur simultaneously with an announced appearance Tuesday in Denver by President Joe Biden, though the White House has yet to release details about the president's speech. 

A spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party called Ganahl's entry into the race "botched."

“Out of all of the lackluster campaign announcements for GOP candidates, Heidi Ganahl's takes the cake for being the most bland and botched rollout," Nico Delgado told Colorado Politics in a text message.

"Her announcement slip-up sends a clear message to Coloradans that she's not taking this campaign seriously, nor is she prepared to be governor. If she can’t even handle a simple campaign launch, how can we expect her to run an entire state?” 

A spokesman for Polis' campaign declined to comment.

Former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez, who finished third in the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary, is also running for the Republican nomination to take on Polis, as are several other first-time candidates.

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