COLORADO SPRINGS — Darryl Glenn’s surprise winner-take-all victory Saturday at Colorado’s GOP state convention shocked everyone but Darryl Glenn.
“We expect to win,” he said Saturday before the votes were counted in an interview with The Colorado Independent. “We want to be the only ones coming out here.”
The night before, the Air Force veteran and attorney who is running for U.S. Senate had told the Republican Party’s state chairman Steve House that he knew he would best his six rivals at the party’s state convention with an outright win.
It’s likely no one other than Glenn would have said that before the candidate gave the most rousing speech of the convention Saturday afternoon.
But when the votes came in showing Glenn had taken 70 percent, snagging 2,664 votes and blowing away his closest rival state Sen. Tim Neville, who took only 696 votes, or 18 percent of the 3,796 votes cast, it was a stunner that couldn’t be overstated.
“Shocking results,” said Ryan Call, a Denver lawyer and former state chairman of the GOP in an interview on the convention floor. “A huge surprise — and a big upset to Tim Neville and those factions of the party who thought that they owned and controlled these delegations … they had, frankly, their ass handed to them.”
Glenn was one of seven candidates running Saturday through the convention process.
Because of Colorado’s byzantine rules, candidates for U.S. Senate can only make it on the primary ballot in June if they crack 30 percent of support among Republican delegates to the state convention, or if they gather enough signatures to petition directly onto the ballot.
This big U.S. Senate race is unusual in Colorado because four candidates are trying to petition onto the ballot, and seven tried to run through the convention process. In the most balanced scenario, only three would have survived the state convention.
But that didn’t happen. Glenn won the contest outright. Hence, the shocker.
In the minutes after Chairman House announced Glenn’s victory from the convention stage, the candidate was already being mobbed by fans and asked when he was going to run for president. Standing in a crisp suit and shiny black-and-white shoes near the soundboard on the convention floor, the bald-headed Glenn shook hands will supporters.
Laurel Imer, who had come from Wheatridge, asked him to sign one of his campaign fliers for her.
“I want it on my wall when you run for president,” she told him. “Eight years, all right? Eight years.”
Glenn told her he had to focus on the race in front him, one he’ll battle out again in another GOP primary, this time against a likely field of four others in a statewide primary election before Republican voters in June.
Glenn told The Colorado Independent he owed a lot to his campaign team and said he was looking ahead.
“This is just one battle and we need to continue on,” he said. “We’re going to continue to stand for the solid core principles of being a Christian constitutional conservative. This is a grassroots, people campaign. And we believe we’re going to win.”
Dan Allis, one of Glenn’s campaign volunteers from El Paso County, stood nearby telling those around him that he was still pinching himself after the results.
“I had a good hunch he was going to win,” he said. “I think we’re all sitting here in awe.”
Allis said he believes it was Glenn’s focus on being a Christian first and a conservative constitutionalist second, and his rousing speech that brought home the 70-percent win among the grassroots base of Republicans who showed up to this year’s state convention.
“There were a lot of people who didn’t know him, and when they heard him today you saw the reaction, Allis said. “He was the one … who brought the house down. And he brought the house together, and that’s what it’s going to take for us to defeat Michael Bennet is to have someone with that kind of support behind him at this stage of the game.”
Saturday’s convention capped a somewhat chaotic weekend that saw more Republicans in Colorado showing up to congressional assemblies and the state convention than ever before. The 2016 presidential race — and sprawling U.S. Senate primary — brought new activists out to participate in the unique caucus-assembly system Colorado uses to nominate candidates and select national delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
When it came to the seven-candidate U.S. Senate race at the state convention, state GOP Chair House says he figured two or three people that were fairly close would meet the 30-percent requirement to make it out alive.
“So the biggest surprise of course is you have one guy, Darryl Glenn, who dominated it with a large, large percentage of the vote, and that was a big surprise to me,” House said.
“Darryl Glenn has been working at running for Senate for a year,” House continued. “And unlike anybody else, he’s been to almost every single county in the state, and he’s generated name ID, and people actually like him very much. He’s a very likable guy. So if you do the work and you’ve got low name ID and there’s a lot of people in the race, and when it comes down to ‘Who do I want?’ — they pick the guy they know and they like.”