Election 2018News

Republican Brian Watson first to turn in nominating petitions for state treasurer’s race

Author: Ernest Luning - March 5, 2018 - Updated: March 5, 2018

Republican candidate for Colorado state treasurer Brian Watson talks with a reporter on Sept. 1, 2017, at Denver Central Market. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)Republican candidate for Colorado state treasurer Brian Watson. ( Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Republican Brian Watson, a candidate for Colorado state treasurer, on Monday turned in petition signatures to the secretary of state’s office in hopes of securing a spot on the June primary ballot.

The real estate CEO is one of six Republicans running for the office held by term-limited Walker Stapleton, a GOP candidate for governor. Like Watson, state Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Roxborough Park, is petitioning onto the ballot — the others are going through the caucus and assembly process — but she hasn’t submitted petition signatures yet.

A Watson spokesman said campaign volunteers and a petition firm gathered the roughly 17,000 signatures the campaign submitted to election officials. For statewide candidates, it takes 10,500 valid signatures from fellow party members to qualify for the ballot.

“We’re incredibly grateful for all of our volunteers and the professionals we partnered with to make this a reality,” Watson said in a statement. “Engaging with Coloradans at their front door as well as outside local libraries, DMVs and grocery stores is what this process is all about.”

Although he isn’t pursuing the nomination through the state assembly — delegate selection kicks off Tuesday night at precinct caucuses throughout the state — Watson said he intends to reach out to participants in that process as the campaign enters the next stage.

“I plan to now get to work calling and meeting with delegates and assembly goers — this is about engaging as many Republicans as possible in the voting and decision-making process,” he said in a statement. “Not just on the Front Range, but in every corner of our great state. The last month of our outreach has done just that and we’re just getting warmed up.”

The GOP state assembly is April 14 in Boulder. In order to get on the June 26 primary ballot, candidates who aren’t petitioning need to get the support of at least 30 percent of delegates.

The other Republicans in the race are state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud; state Rep. Justin Everett, R-Littleton; Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn; and Brett Barkey, the district attorney of Grand, Moffat and Routt counties.

Until Friday, four Democrats were running for the office, but one of them, former state Rep. Steve Lebsock, switched his voter registration to Republican just an hour before becoming the first state representative to be expelled by the Colorado House in more than 100 years. According to the secretary of state’s office, Lebsock won’t be able to run for state treasurer as a Democrat or a Republican because he won’t have been affiliated with either party as long as the law requires.

Three Democrats remain in the running: state Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley; activist Bernard Douthit; and Charles Scheibe, the state’s chief financial officer under Stapleton and his Democratic predecessor, former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy. They’ve all said they’re going through the assembly process.


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.