And then there were two. Maybe three. We’ll see.
But the campaigns of two more candidates in the big U.S. Senate race in Colorado were dealt potential death blows today with the news that Robert Blaha and Ryan Frazier did not collect enough signatures to appear on the June GOP primary ballot.
Now, one Republican who will be on the ballot, Darryl Glenn, is hoping for their support.
“Signatures were rejected for a variety of reasons, including the signer was not a Republican, the signer’s address did not match voter registration records, duplicate signatures and notary errors,” said Secretary of State spokeswoman Lynn Bartels in a statement.
Blaha, a Colorado Springs businessman, and Frazier, a former Aurora City Councilman, were the last two candidates to turn in signatures to state officials to see if they would qualify for a chance to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in the fall.
Jack Graham is so far the only Republican on the ballot who went through the petition process. His campaign had turned in more than enough signatures to qualify. Former lawmaker Jon Keyser has sued the Secretary of State to try and get on the ballot after state officials said he hadn’t collected enough valid signatures. Blaha and Frazier have five days to decide whether they’ll protest the Secretary of State’s decision. The candidates or their representatives had not immediately responded by the time this story was published.
The Republican whose name will appear first on the June primary ballot is Glenn, an El Paso County Commissioner, Air Force veteran and lawyer.
Glenn was riding back from Sterling this afternoon when he heard the news. The night before he had participated in a candidate forum with Blaha and Frazier. He called them both personal friends who had run honorable campaigns. He says he’ll be reaching out to both of them for their support.
“If that is the case that they will not be on the ballot then I will certainly be reaching out to them because some of the concerns that they have I want to be sure that I firmly advocate for that, too,” he told The Colorado Independent.
Glenn said he didn’t consider trying to get on the ballot through the signature-gathering process like Graham, Keyser, Blaha and Frazier. He knew from day one he’d go through the convention-assembly process in which he earned 70 percent of the support from state convention delegates on April 9, knocking out six other Republican rivals who also went that route, and stunning Colorado political observers.
“I personally do not respect the petitioning process,” Glenn said. “It’s a valid way to get on there, but the problem is when you petition you fail to make that connection at the grassroots level.”
With the field potentially thinned, Glenn now will only have to focus on Graham as a primary opponent until a judge rules on whether Keyser will also be on the June ballot.
“He’s coming from a completely different background,” Glenn said of Graham, a former NFL quarterback and athletic director at CSU. “Mr. Graham was a Democrat up until I think it was 18 months ago. For the life of me, I don’t understand that … I don’t know him well enough to be able to say, ‘this is what he stands for.’ All I can say is what I stand for, and the difference between the two of us is going to be I have a record that you can actually refer back to.”
Glenn says he has the experience and background in national security and working to balance budgets that would make him a better U.S. Senator than his opponents.
The candidate’s campaign schedule hasn’t changed since his shutout at the state convention, and he’s been doing multiple events every day, he said.
“The fundraising and the level of support has been absolutely humbling,” he told The Independent. “We are going to show that we are clearly going to win this race.”