Two frontrunners skip GOP debate in governor’s race
DENVER — Before telling Republican voters why they should be their party’s nominee to run against Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, four GOP governor candidates started out by trashing the two who declined to show.
The four — state Sen. Greg Brophy, ex-Army officer Jason Clark, businessman Steve House and former state Sen. Mike Kopp — said the two other candidates in the GOP primary race, Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former congressman Tom Tancredo, had a duty to appear at Tuesday’s gubernatorial debate hosted by The Denver Post.
It’s about integrity, Clark said.
It’s a job interview, House added.
It’s about facing the voters, Kopp offered.
“As Republicans, we need to find out in March ... if our candidate can answer the hard questions,” Brophy ended. “We can’t wait until September to find out that there’s no excuse for the secretary of state blowing his office budget. We need to find out if we can trust Tom Tancredo to defend the Second Amendment.”
The four went on to talk about their visions of what the next governor should do, which ranged from reducing Medicaid entitlement costs to cutting some unneeded government programs to fund needed programs.
Kopp pushed his blueprint for a leaner government. Clark said there’s much potential in hydroelectric projects. House called for an end to the state’s business personal property tax. Brophy said the state can build new roads and a world class education system without raising taxes.
The four said they don’t support the legalization of marijuana, and would do what they can to ensure it is properly regulated, especially when it comes to keeping pot out of the hands of kids.
They all agreed that any pending surplus of tax revenues under the Taxpayers Bill of Rights should be immediately refunded to taxpayers, and no attempt should be made to hold any surplus to fund government programs.
The four also said they weren’t concerned that each are trailing Gessler and Tancredo when it comes to their abilities to raise campaign contributions, including one, Clark, who said he was “single and independently wealthy,” so it isn’t an issue.
The four were finally asked who they would prefer to see win the nomination if it wasn’t them.
Brophy and House picked each other, while Kopp chose Gessler, unless his wife jumps into the race.
Clark picked Clark.
When pressured for an actual answer he said:
“None of these candidates.”