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As we draw closer to November, the question will only gather steam: Who will replace John Hickenlooper as Colorado’s next governor? Last fall, we wrote about the 10 candidates with the best chance of winning the race. And just last month, we took a look at the three women who were looking to smash the state’s highest glass ceiling. The race for governor has been wide open for a few months now, and until this weekend—when both major parties held their statewide assemblies—there hadn’t been much clarity about who would ascend to the Centennial State’s highest elected office.
Things are a bit clearer today. On Saturday, Colorado Republican and Democratic delegates voted in their respective assemblies to determine who would make the primary ballot for governor. In order to make that ballot, candidates would need more than 30 percent of the assembly vote. Alternatively, candidates could petition for signatures—10,500 of which were needed to make the ballot—a complex process that has added to the uncertainty of who will be the state’s next governor. If you missed the drama unfolding at (and before) the assemblies over the weekend, here’s a quick overview.
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Republican Assembly: Walker Stapleton wins big, Cynthia Coffman falls short
Undoubtedly, the biggest story of the weekend was two-term State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, who initially planned to petition his way onto the Republican primary ballot. By early April, he had collected enough signatures. But last week he announced that he learned of a problem with the firm hired to collected those signatures, and that he was abandoning his petition effort. Instead, he announced, he would try to secure a spot via the assembly process—a move that put more pressure on the other candidates, like Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who were favored to emerge from the assembly process.
Stapleton won big. He secured 43 percent of the delegate votes while Coffman, in a major disappointment, earned only six percent and fell off the ballot. Greg Lopez, the former Parker mayor, earned 32 percent of the vote and will join Stapleton on the Republican primary ballot. Depending on how the petition process shakes out, Stapleton and Lopez could be joined by two other candidates. Victor Mitchell, a Colorado businessman and former state legislature, and Doug Robinson, nephew of Mitt Romney and former investment banker, are both looking to join the ballot via petition and are awaiting verification of their signatures.
Democratic Assembly: Cary Kennedy leads the way
If there’s any chance Colorado has a woman as its next governor, she will have to come from the Democratic Party. In what was a less-dramatic Democratic assembly, former state treasurer Cary Kennedy won by a convincing margin, securing 62 percent of the vote. U.S. Representative Jared Polis, an early favorite to emerge from the Democratic party, narrowly made the ballot by securing 33 percent of the vote. Mike Johnston, a former state legislator, already secured his place on the Democratic primary ballot via the petition process.