Republican George Brauchler sweeps Colorado gubernatorial straw polls conducted by local Tea Party groups

Author: Ernest Luning - October 12, 2017 - Updated: October 14, 2017

District Attorney George Brauchler, a Republican candidate for governor in the 2018 election, addresses the Arapahoe County GOP assembly on March 29, 2016, in Englewood. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)District Attorney George Brauchler, a Republican candidate for governor in the 2018 election, addresses the Arapahoe County GOP assembly on March 29, 2016, in Englewood. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Republican George Brauchler has overwhelmed the competition in a series of gubernatorial straw polls conducted by a pair of local Tea Party groups in recent months.

Brauchler, the 18th Judicial District attorney and one of seven Republicans running in next year’s election for governor, left fellow candidates in the dust in three polls filled out by members of the Arapahoe Tea Party and the Colorado Tea Party Patriots at their joint monthly meetings in July, August and October, the group’s organizers said Thursday.

“The tea party members believe that George Brauchler is the candidate most closely aligned with their values and principles,” said Regina Thomson, president of the Colorado Tea Party Patriots and a Brauchler supporter, in a statement.

According to the most recent poll at the groups’ meeting on Tuesday, Brauchler was favored by 80 percent of those who participated, while former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo received 2.5 percent of the votes and 10.5 percent said they were undecided.

Brauchler spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, while Tancredo made a presentation about a possible gubernatorial run at the previous meeting in September. The groups didn’t hand out a straw poll at the September meeting.

In a poll conducted in August, Brauchler got 80 percent, former Parker Mayor got 8 percent, former state Rep. Victor Mitchell got 4 percent and 8 percent were undecided.

In July, 73 percent of those voting picked Brauchler, 5 percent voted for Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter III, and 22 percent were undecided.

The polls have been open-ended, with those attending the meeting asked to write down their preference for governor. Organizers said they provide a list of declared and rumored candidates from all parties.

“The results point to the desire of constitutional conservatives to elect a governor who is aligned with their desire for limited government, limited regulation, low taxation, public security and safety, fiscal responsibility, parental choice in education and personal freedom of choice in all matters concerning healthcare providers and insurance,” Thomson said.

Brauchler also won a straw poll held at the Western Conservative Summit in July, receiving around twice as many votes as his nearest competitor. Using the approval-voting method — it allows voters to pick more than one candidate — Brauchler finished first, followed by Mitchell, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and state Sen. Tim Neville. (Stapleton wasn’t an announced candidate at the time but jumped in the primary late last month, while Coffman has said she’s considering a run for governor but hasn’t made it official and Neville is running for reelection to his Senate seat.)

The other Republicans in the race to succeed term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper are Doug Robinson, a former investment banker and nephew of Mitt Romney, and Steve Barlock, who co-chaired the Denver Trump campaign last year.

The Tea Party groups plan to continue conducting monthly straw polls up to the June 26 primary election.

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.