DENVER (CBS4)– Bob Beauprez is the Republican party’s choice to run for governor against Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper.

Eight years ago he ran unsuccessfully for the same seat.

On Tuesday, the former congressman defeated three other Republicans, including former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, for the nod to challenge Hickenlooper in November.

Beauprez appeared on CBS Morning News Wednesday and he insisted the Republican party is united in Colorado.

“Primaries are never fun from the outside looking in they probably look a little bit physical sometimes but the party is very unified in the position to defeat John Hickenlooper,” said Beauprez.

He also said the strategy will focus on Hickenlooper’s achievements during his tenure as governor.

“We’re just going to call on his record and I think he’s got a record now that we can expose. This last week, lying to our sheriffs, it’s pretty hard to ignore that one, to say, ‘Oops’ and just forget about it. I think it’s an example of failed leadership,” said Beauprez. “We’ve been citing him for failed leadership, not being as engaged as he should be on behalf of Colorado and missing opportunity for the average person in Colorado.”

Are we doing okay? Some would say okay but okay has never been good enough for Colorado. There is a difference between living and kind of getting by and living free, as I say, to where government’s not in your way. Right now a lot of people think government’s the problem.”

Republican voters see Beauprez as the strongest candidate against Hickenlooper, who has a sizable fundraising advantage. Beauprez said he’s confident that voters will hear his message.

“I don’t know if we’re going to out-raise John Hickenlooper but I’m comfortable we’re going to have the money we need to get our message out,” said Beauprez.

He also talked about what he calls a huge gaffe for Hickenlooper regarding gun control laws. Earlier this month Hickenlooper apologized for not meeting with the sheriffs during last year’s controversial gun control debate, insisting that he didn’t know they wanted to talk.

RELATED: Gov. To Sheriffs: ‘I Apologize’ For How Gun Legislation Was Passed

Beauprez said that will be a big issue in the campaign.

“Regardless of where you were on the gun issue, to me the real issue is that he, of all people, looked the sheriffs in the eye and lied to them about how that all came about. That’s the issue, is leadership. Let me tell you the real question on the ballot: Do you believe in government or do you believe in people? And we’ve had government on top of government on top of government and people feel weighted down and putting government on people instead of of, by and for the people,” said Beauprez. “I believe in people, the goodness of people, the decency of people, the creativity of people and I think you unleash that when government relaxes and gives them that opportunity, doesn’t regulate and restrict them to death and gives them a chance to reach their fullness.”


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