Polis also frequently faces criticisms that he’s unelectable in Colorado’s highest-profile statewide race – assertions that tend to make mention of his roots in ultra-liberal, tax-friendly Boulder County. But state Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver, the first openly lesbian black woman elected to state office in Colorado, reads in these predictions a coded subtext about Polis’s sexual identity.
“I do think there have been some homophobic undertones to a lot of those statements, from Democrats and Republicans. The undertone is ‘because he’s gay,’” she said. Polis has called some of the descriptions of himself “dog whistle” attacks.
“Jared is not running because he’s gay,” Herod says. “He’s running because he has real, bold ideas that he wants to put to action.”
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