The Secretary of State formally certified the signatures Tom Tancredo submitted to appear on the GOP Gubernatorial ballot this week, and by doing so, changed the entire game at the GOP State Assembly this weekend.
On Saturday, state Republican delegates will come together to finalize the candidates for the 2014 election and set the final group for any primary races that will take place on June 24.
Tom Tancredo announced long ago that he was going to go through the petition route, so that was no surprise. But because of the calendar timing, he wasn’t guaranteed to know for sure if his signatures would be certified before the State Assembly. His backup plan, reportedly, was to attend the Assembly and work to get more than the required 10 percent, since he had submitted signatures, to get on the ballot through the delegates.
But since he now knows he will be on the ballot without the need for delegates, those votes that he would have fought for at the assembly are up for grabs.
It’s impossible to know exactly where the delegates will go, but the fact that Tancredo will not be splitting the vote, the field is far more open. We could see anywhere from one to three additional candidates join Tancredo and presumably Bob Beauprez, on the official primary ballot.
Like I mentioned, it’s impossible to truly guess what’s going to happen with five candidates officially seeking delegates, but it’s fun to try.
Being one of the very few Republicans running with a statewide victory already on his resume, Scott Gessler should be assured of a ballot placement. But the question then becomes, how many candidates can he knock off the ballot by earning more votes than the required 30 percent.
Could Gessler do to the other candidates what Bob Beauprez did to Marc Holtzman a few years back and get 71 percent, excluding everyone else from the ballot? The odds are long on that idea, but it is technically possible, and a bit easier to accomplish with Tancredo not battling for delegates.
Could the opposite happen and three candidates make the ballot? For that to happen, a mathematical rarity would need to occur, with three candidates all pulling 30 percent, leaving less than 10 percent for the other two.
That’s not as rare as a lightning strike, but it’s up there, odds-wise.
The most likely arrangement will be two candidates pulling away with more than 30 percent and attaining ballot placement. But again, because Tom Tancredo is not fighting to become one of those people, the final ballot is going to at least have one more name on it than if he had attempted to win delegates.
Will that opening give Mike Kopp or Greg Brophy a chance to make a splash into a race as a clear underdog, but one that carries a good story?
I realize that at times this may seem like “inside baseball,” or the kind of talk that only political junkies would get into, but the fact of the matter is, this can sincerely change the race for governor.
If Brophy or Kopp were to mount a successful run as an outsider in a field of heavy hitters, and then ride that success to the governor’s mansion, you would be able to trace that unlikely but technically possible path straight to this moment.
Yes, elections are won over the long haul, but every election season has these kinds of moments that seemingly pass by without notice, but potentially change the entire field.
Will this be one of those moments? Like always, we’ll need to stay tuned to find out.
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– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.