Beauprez leaves his opponents in the dust
Months ago, some political pollsters predicted that the more people in the primary race to be the Republican nominee for Colorado governor, the easier it would be for Tom Tancredo to win it.
That didn’t happen Tuesday.
The former congressman and one-time candidate for president came in second behind another former congressman, Bob Beauprez, who came out ahead of Tancredo and two others in the race, Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Kopp.
Beauprez pulled in 30 percent of the Republican vote. That compared to Tancredo’s 27 percent, Gessler’s 23 percent and Kopp’s 20 percent, the latest unofficial numbers available Tuesday night.
As a result, Beauprez will go up against Democrat John Hickenlooper, who defeated Tancredo and then GOP-nominee Dan Maes in 2010 for governor.
Beauprez said he believes Colorado Republicans realized who was the person best suited to stand up against Hickenlooper in his re-election bid.
“I’d like to think it’s our message, an opportunity message, a message for a better Colorado, believing in individual liberty and freedom,” Beauprez said. “That resonates with so many people around Colorado. They recognize that they had a good choice in this campaign, and I’m happy that they embraced me.”
Four years ago, Tancredo was criticized by members of his own party for leaving to run as the candidate in the American Constitution Party. He said he did that because Maes didn’t have the wherewithal to defeat Hickenlooper.
As many predicted, Tancredo ended up splitting the conservative vote, winning 36 percent to Maes’ 11 percent. Hickenlooper won with 51 percent.
Some Republicans feared there might be a repeat of that party division during this go-round. At one time, there were as many as eight Republicans vying for the right to run against the Democratic governor.
Eventually, that field was narrowed to four, and it generated thousands of dollars in campaign contributions between them.
Throughout it, Tancredo had led the field, collecting upward of $800,000, most of which he still has because he did little campaigning.
Beauprez, one of the later entries into the race, collected about $600,000, half of which came from his own pocket. Hickenlooper has about $3 million in his campaign account, and recently booked about $1.4 million in television advertising time.
State Republican leaders said that division in the party during the 2010 governor’s race won’t occur this time, and praised Beauprez for winning the primary.
“Colorado is ready for a leader who will unite our state in common goals and not divide it with a partisan agenda,” said Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call. “Bob Beauprez is a leader who will bring our state together after years of divisiveness from Governor Hickenlooper, and it’s time for every Republican in Colorado to join in the effort to elect Bob as our next governor.”
Tuesday’s win will mark the second time Beauprez has run for governor. He lost by 17 points in 2006 to former Gov. Bill Ritter after what many called a poorly run campaign.
Beauprez promises that won’t happen this time around.
“It’s a completely different environment, and it’s nice to have the wind at your back instead of straight in your face,” he said. “But more importantly, we’ve got a failed administration with John Hickenlooper, and a whole bunch of holes to shoot at. People around Colorado, and on the Western Slope, are asking, ‘Does he even know we’re here?’”
Unlike Ritter, who was Denver district attorney at the time of his race and was somewhat of an unknown, Hickenlooper has a four-year record, one Beauprez calls a failed one. He points to several missteps by Hickenlooper, not the least of which was the governor’s recent apologetic comments to county sheriffs about excluding them from the discussion of several gun-control measures passed last year.
While Hickenlooper hasn’t yet said anything about his GOP opponent, Rick Palacio, chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party, had plenty to say about Beauprez after the primary.
“He’s an antagonist, instigator and spreader of misinformation and tea party lies,” Palacio said. “When it comes to family planning, Beauprez said he would sign a bill that would ban abortions without exception for victims of rape and incest, and continue the extreme Republican agenda of limiting access to birth control.
“On immigration, Beauprez said that he would like to see a ‘cleansing process,’ and force 11 million undocumented immigrants, including women and children, to ‘go home,’” Palacio added. “Clearly, his positions put Beauprez in the far right of the Republican Party and way out of Colorado’s mainstream.”