A Republican candidate for Colorado governor has made bizarre and false claims about the current governor, Jared Polis, among them that he’s not really gay, was once married to a woman whom he abused, and sexually assaulted a female colleague.
Danielle Neuschwanger, who is one of several candidates running in next year’s Republican primary, made the remarks at an event in Cañon City Monday night, the Colorado Times Recorder reports.
“An audio recording provided by an attendee documents Neuschwanger’s remarks on a wide range of topics, including the corrupt culture of campaigns, lawsuits against the state over mandates, ‘crazy’ GOP constituents, a legislative candidate advocating to ‘ban the gays’ and gay adoption, government secrets about the JFK assassination, and rival Republican gubernatorial candidates,” the paper reports.
“Toward the end of her comments, Neuschwanger said, ‘You guys want to know something crazy about Polis? He’s not even gay,’” the article notes.
“I didn’t know any of this until, like, we got involved in politics,” she said. “So his real name is Jared Schutz, and he was married to a woman, who he used to abuse the heck out of.”
When Polis first became involved in politics in the early 2000s, she alleged, he was approached by Democratic strategists who wanted to appeal to gay voters. “Tom Gill was already a well-known gay activist, and so they figured out the way to get the gays in Colorado was to have someone run for governor who is gay,” she said, probably meaning Tim Gill, the Quark founder and philanthropist. “So right before this happened, they told Jared Polis he had to get divorced. But then he sexually assaulted a female colleague, hence the name change to Jared Polis.” She also claimed that no one thought Polis was gay before he ran for governor.
There is absolutely no evidence that Polis was ever married to a woman or that he ever sexually assaulted anyone. He has been out as gay throughout his political career; he was on the Colorado Board of Education from 2001 to 2007 and a congressman from 2009 to 2019. He is the first out gay man elected governor of any U.S. state. He married his longtime partner, Marlon Reis, this year, becoming the first sitting governor in a same-sex marriage — a marriage Neuschwanger called “a sham.” They have a son and daughter.
He did change his name from Jared Schutz to Jared Polis in 2000, adopting his mother’s maiden name. A campaign ad against Polis in 2018 alleged that the name change was due to an accusation of assault, not sexual, by a woman who was his personal assistant when he was in private business in 1999. He said the woman, Patricia Hughes, was hitting him with a bag and he shoved her in self-defense “as he attempted to prevent her from leaving his office with stolen documents,” according to Colorado Public Radio.
“Polis is listed as the victim on the [police] report,” CPR notes. “Hughes was charged and pled guilty to stealing trade secrets after police found company contracts in her bags.” She has since died.
Neuschwanger did not mention that incident, but she made several further false claims, such as that Polis was born in California, not Colorado, and is a cousin of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and that staffers bring sex workers to Polis’s home for “swingers’ parties.” She also alleged he has received funding from George Soros, a philanthropist who is known for his support of liberal causes and is the subject of many right-wing conspiracy theories. On another topic, she contended that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 presidential election but hackers stole it for Joe Biden, another popular conspiracy theory.
Neuschwanger told the Times Recorder she stands by her remarks and wants to put Polis in jail. She is a political newcomer, currently working in real estate, and is one of several candidates seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination to face Polis, a Democrat, in 2022. Polis has not responded to Neuschwanger’s comments.