The Colorado Supreme Court this morning refused to hear Republican Marc Holtzman’s arguments that he should be allowed onto the primary ballot, thus ending his long, strange campaign for governor.

The repurcussions of this decision are huge in Colorado, because a Republican primary with Bob Beauprez would have given Democrat Bill Ritter a HUGE advantage in the general election. Beauprez likely would have beaten Holtzman in August, but he would have had to make his message far more right-wing than he would have liked in order to do it; in doing so, Beauprez would have been in a tough spot in the general election against Ritter, who is a moderate Democrat. The gubernatorial campaign should heat up to new levels very shortly now, with Beauprez and Ritter going after each other on every occasion.

As for Holtzman, he may have had valid arguments against being counted off the ballot for not getting enough petition signatures in two different congressional districts, but he really has nobody to blame but those in his own campaign. Holtzman’s camp just simply didn’t gather enough extra signatures to give the campaign a buffer in case too many were rejected as invalid (petition signatures can be rejected for a number of reasons; for example, if a signer was not a registered Republican, the signature wouldn’t count).

This is a weird end for Holtzman, who has been campaigning for governor for longer than both Beauprez or Ritter. It’s strange that a campaign with this much time, effort and resources invested in it could just come to a complete halt less than two months before the election, but that’s what happened.

Now the race is official. Beauprez v. Ritter. Here we go.