Gessler, Kopp get nods for governor
BOULDER — Two Republicans, Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former state Sen. Mike Kopp, were the only two GOP governor candidates to earn a spot on the June primary ballot at Saturday’s Republican state assembly.
And that’s exactly what former congressman Tom Tancredo wanted.
The Republican, who’s already petitioned onto the ballot, didn’t go through the Colorado Republican assembly process, and now will face those two, and possibly one other, former congressman Bob Beauprez, who has filed petitions that are not yet certified.
Polls show that the more people on the GOP primary ballot, the better Tancredo does.
Many delegates feared that five people vying in the assembly would lead to no one earning more than the needed 30 percent to automatically qualify, forcing a second vote. That didn’t happen when Gessler and Kopp emerged on top.
Though Tancredo had delegates in the assembly, he released them to vote as they wanted.
Though Gessler had long been seen as a frontrunner, Kopp earned more delegates, winning 33.6 percent to Gessler’s 33.11 percent.
The remaining candidates didn’t fair that well. State Sen. Greg Brophy earned 18.89 percent, Brighton businessman Steve House won 12.81 percent and La Salle rancher Roni Sylvester got 1.59 percent.
Kopp credited his tenacity at spreading his message, saying his victory was because people were finally hearing that message.
“You want to know how to defeat a giant?” Kopp said during his nomination speech at the Coors Events Center on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus. “Never ever ever ever ever ever quit.”
Like Gessler and the other candidates, Kopp said it was time to retake the state from Democratic hands.
“I see a new day breaking in Colorado,” Kopp told the nearly 4,000 delegates at the assembly. “We face obstacles, big ones. But you know what? There will always be giants when you want to go to a better land.”
Calling himself the “honey badger,” Gessler focused much of his nominating speech attacking the incumbent Democratic governor, John Hickenlooper, saying he assaulted Coloradans’ Second Amendment rights and increased energy costs by approving measures that increased renewable energy mandates.
But Gessler also criticized Republicans for not doing enough to stop him and other Democrats who control the Colorado Legislature.
“Conservative values are not enough. We need candidates, leaders who can communicate our values in positive, pragmatic ways,” he said. “I’m tired of watching Republicans get in office ... and do nothing. Our elected Republicans, they must act. They must do something with those principles, and as secretary of state, I have led the way.”
The winner of the June 24 primary will go on to run against Hickenlooper, who won his party’s nomination Saturday at the Democratic Party state assembly in Denver.