Beauprez gets enough signatures to make primary ballot in guv’s race

DENVER — Even though he turned in thousands more signatures than Tom Tancredo to get onto the GOP primary ballot, Bob Beauprez had fewer accepted by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday.

Still, the former congressman and candidate for governor qualified for the ballot, getting slightly more than 1,700 valid signatures above the 10,500 minimum needed.

As a result, he will join Tancredo, Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former state Sen. Mike Kopp on the June 24 ballot. The winner will face Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is running for a second term.

“I am humbled by the continued loyalty and outpouring of support from the thousands of Coloradans who encouraged me to become their next governor,” Beauprez said in a statement. “I agree with them that our state is lacking a strong decisive leader and I look forward to representing their voices after November.”

Beauprez’s campaign turned in about 23,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot, but had 10,791 rejected for various reasons. Tancredo turned in petitions with 16,635 names, but only had 3,476 rejected.

The first representative for the 7th Congressional District when it was created in 2002, Beauprez served in that job for two terms, declining to run for a third to challenge Democrat Bill Ritter for governor. He lost by 17 percentage points.

Tancredo, too, is a one-time governor candidate. Four years ago, he left the Republican Party because he didn’t believe the GOP nominee, Dan Maes, had the wherewithal to defeat Hickenlooper.

He didn’t, getting only about 11 percent of the vote. Tancredo, who ran as a candidate from the American Constitution Party, got about 36 percent.

Though some polls have said that more candidates in the race gives Tancredo the best chance at winning the nomination because he has a more solid base of supporters, pollster and political consultant Floyd Ciruli said Wednesday that Kopp has the better credentials and isn’t seen as damaged as the other three.

“Mike Kopp, who top-lined at the Republican State Assembly, may be the Republicans’ best candidate for governor, and has a very good chance to win the June 24 primary if his supporters can use his strengths and his opponents’ weaknesses to make his case,” Ciruli wrote on his blog, The Buzz.

Kopp has endorsements from such people as former U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong and former Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland, who was Beauprez’s lieutenant governor running mate in 2006.


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