Election 2018GovernorHot Sheet

House GOP leadership, Ken Buck back Walker Stapleton on eve of state assembly

Author: Ernest Luning - April 13, 2018 - Updated: April 13, 2018

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State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, a Republican candidate for governor of Colorado, visits with fellow Republicans before the start of a state GOP meeting on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Englewood. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, a Republican candidate for governor of Colorado, visits with fellow Republicans before the start of a state GOP meeting on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Englewood. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton has locked down support from House GOP leaders ahead of Saturday’s state party assembly, where he will compete for delegate votes and a spot on the primary ballot.

The two-term state treasurer also received the backing of U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, who recorded an endorsement message delivered to Republicans on Thursday.

Calling Stapleton “a loyal and trustworthy ally,” Minority Leader Patrick Neville, Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist, Caucus Chair Lori Saine and Republican Whip Perry Buck and Joint Budget Committee member Bob Rankin  extolled the front-runner’s virtues in a letter released Friday.

“Each one of us has worked closely with Walker for years. He is razor-sharp on the important issues facing our state, from the budget to pension reform. His unrivaled expertise on these matters makes us better able to do our job of serving you,” they wrote.

“As important, Walker is a loyal and trustworthy ally in our ongoing fight for a more conservative future. If he tells us something is going to get done, it gets done — Walker is a man of his word, a trait increasingly rare in political life.”

Stapleton declared Tuesday he was ditching the nominating petition that had already qualified him for the primary ballot, saying he discovered the night before that the firm he’d paid $200,000 to manage his petition drive had employed an unqualified circulator and lied about it.

Instead, Stapleton said he would join seven other Republicans going through the state assembly, where it will take the support of 30 percent of the delegates to make the ballot.

On Saturday, Stapleton will face primary rivals including Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, businessman and author Barry Farah, former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez and former Denver Trump campaign co-chair Steve Barlock.

Two additional candidates are petitioning onto the ballot: entrepreneur and former state lawmaker Victor Mitchell and retired investment banker Doug Robinson, who is Mitt Romney’s nephew. State officials are reviewing their petitions.

Here’s the robocall recorded by Buck, a former prosecutor serving his second term representing the 4th Congressional District:

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.