DENVER (AP) – Former Rep. Bob Beauprez filed paperwork to run for governor Monday, entering a crowded field of Republicans vying to challenge Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in November.
Beauprez was in Washington, D.C., on Monday to present Denver’s bid for the 2016 Republican National Convention but must move quickly to begin the laborious process of making Colorado’s Republican primary ballot.
Beauprez’s entry is the second shake-up in a major Colorado race in the past week. Last week, Rep. Cory Gardner announced he’d challenge Sen. Mark Udall, leading two other candidates to bow out of the GOP primary in that contest.
But Beauprez’s entry, anticipated for weeks, has not had the same impact. None of the major Republican party candidates in the crowded gubernatorial field has said they’d step down should the former congressman run.
Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, seen as both the front-runner in the race and the man viewed with greatest concern by Republican officials because of the risk he could alienate swing voters, said in an interview Friday that he told Beauprez last year that he wouldn’t run should Beauprez get in the race. But, now, Tancredo says he’s staying in.
“Now I’ve got 6,000, 7,000 contributors, I’m ahead of everyone in the primary,” Tancredo said. “No, I won’t get out.”
Skeptics point to Beauprez’s devastating loss in the 2006 gubernatorial contest to Bill Ritter, who beat him by 17 points. However, Beauprez did twice win a competitive congressional seat in the pivotal western Denver suburbs and is wealthy enough to fund his own campaign.
He will need those resources because his best route to the ballot is through a costly signature-gathering effort that ends March 31.
Other candidates in the Republican primary are Secretary of State Scott Gessler, State Sen. Greg Brophy and former State Sen. Mike Kopp.
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