The news that Republican Marc Holtzman has accused rival Bob Beauprez of stealing his personal database is the latest barrage in what has become a testy fight for the GOP nomination for governor. Beauprez has previously accused Holtzman of skirting campaign finance law for appearing in a TV ad against Referenda C&D, but that’s an insider issue that most voters don’t really understand (or probably care about, for that matter).

But when Holtzman accused Beauprez of stealing his personal database for a fundraising e-mail, a real gauntlet may have been thrown down that could decide the future of this race. If Holtzman is correct, and the criminal complaint his campaign filed in Denver District Court becomes a misdemeanor charge, Beauprez will get heavy pressure to drop out of the race. If Holtzman’s camp is wrong, however, they will be accused of playing dirty politics and Holtzman will get heavy pressure to pull out.

Either way, this allegation could hurt Beauprez. The average voter doesn’t care much about campaign finance laws, in large part because they are so complex that nobody cares to understand. But theft is a pretty simple issue to get your mind around, and voters will no doubt be reminded that Beauprez was accused of stealing from an opponent.