The Democratic governor of Colorado has cancelled his appearance at a virtual event sponsored by a New Jersey-based Republican think tank after facing some pushing from allies of Gov. Phil Murphy.
Gov. Jared Polis was scheduled to headline a Garden State Initiative virtual lunch and policy briefing on Tuesday moderated by the group’s board chairman, Bob Hugin.
The New Jersey Globe has learned that Polis pulled out of the event today after Murphy supporters complained that he was speaking to a group that has staunchly criticized the New Jersey governor’s policies.
Sources familiar with the event said that Murphy supporters reached out to Polis and convinced him to withdraw his acceptance of the GOP think tank’s invitation.
Garden State Initiative is run by Regina Egea, a former chief of staff to Gov. Chris Christie. Hugin, who ran against U.S. Senator Bob Menendez three years ago, lost a bid for Republican State Chairman last December. Both have bashed Murphy’s handling of the state’s economy.
“We were advised by Governor Polis’ office that he had an urgent matter arise for Tuesday which resulted in the postponement of the event,” said William Smith, a spokesman for Garden State Initiative. “It would be disappointing if any civic minded individual tried to stifle constructive debate on the tough issues facing our state. That’s not what GSI is about.”
Smith said that the group is a a non-partisan, tax-exempt organization and “regularly hosts events with panelists and audience members with divergent opinions. ”
“We are eager to hear from governors of either party who have ideas that can make New Jersey a better place,” Smith said.
Murphy is the chairman emeritus of the Democratic Governors Association and ran the group last year.
Last year, Polis had described Murphy as his friend.