Can Polis' extreme liberal initiatives make it onto the ballot?

This fight threatens to rip apart the Colorado Democratic Party--will Polis trudge onwards or get in line with the party bosses?

Originally from Peter Blake, Complete Colorado

It would be easy enough for U.S. Rep. Jared Polis to extricate himself from the fix he is in with fellow Democratic officeholders without losing face: Ease off on signature gathering for the two anti-fracking initiatives he is pushing.

After all, his operatives have little over a month to gather the 120,000 signatures they need to make sure that at least 86,105 are valid. They didn’t begin until about July 1 and the deadline is Aug. 4. If the effort falls a little short it would be no disgrace. Those who start circulating petitions earlier in the election cycle have up to six months to collect signatures and often need all that time.

But it looks as though the three signature-gathering firms he’s hired are still going all out, despite pleas to stop by not only the business community but other Democrats. If Polis succeeds on getting one or both issues on the ballot, it will be a remarkable personal achievement.

It may not boost his political career, however — or the careers of some fellow Democrats trying to keep or seek office. They don’t believe the state will be well served by crippling the oil and gas industry and, more to the point, fear the ballot issues could lead to their defeat as well. Gov. John Hickenloooper, Sen. Mark Udall, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter and 6th Congressional District candidate Andrew Romanoff have all come out against the ballot issues. So has former Democratic Gov. Roy Romer.

Amendment 88 would quadruple the distance required between a new well and an occupied structure, from 500 to 2000 feet. Amendment 89, after a paean to “clean air, pure water and natural and scenic values,” buries the lead: Local governments would be empowered to set stricter standards than the state’s.

Read more from Complete Colorado's Peter Blake.