Election 2018GovernorNews

Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell turns in nominating petitions

Author: Ernest Luning - March 8, 2018 - Updated: March 8, 2018

Victor MitchellRepublican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell visits with an eagle at the Western Conservative Summit on July 22, 2017. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Republican Victor Mitchell, a candidate for governor of Colorado, delivered more than 26,000 petition signatures aimed at securing a spot on the June primary ballot to the secretary of state’s office on Wednesday, his campaign said.

The businessman and former state lawmaker is the third GOP gubernatorial candidate to submit petitions to the secretary of state, and he turned in more signatures than either of the other two — State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, who had roughly 21,000, and former investment banker Doug Robinson, who had about 17,000. Their signatures are in the process of being verified.

“I saw the petition drive as an outstanding opportunity for grassroots politics that engages with real voters,” Mitchell said in a statement. “We wanted to collect the most petitions to show our commitment to winning this campaign, just as we’ve approached our Facebook social media campaign, where we have more friends and followers than any other gubernatorial candidate, by a wide margin. We did it and there will be many more big wins in the days ahead. Just watch.”

Statewide candidates who are petitioning need 10,500 valid signatures from fellow party members — 1,500 from each of the Colorado’s seven congressional districts — in order to qualify for the ballot.

Mitchell’s campaign took some shots at his two petitioning primary rivals in a release announcing his achievement, pointing out that Stapleton is related to former President George W. Bush and his father, former President George Bush, and that Robinson is related to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, who both ran for president.

Mitchell, who has started several tech and real estate companies over the years, put $3 million into his campaign when he launched it a little over a year ago and still had about $2 million in the bank at the end of the most recent reporting period. He has said he’s willing to spend up to $6 million to win the nomination.

Other Republicans running for the office held by term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, include Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter III, former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez and Steve Barlock, who co-chaired the Denver Trump campaign two years ago. They’re all going through the caucus and assembly process rather than attempting to get on the ballot by petition.

Six Democrats are also running for the office.

Mitchell said John Snow, an attorney with the Denver-based Hackstaff and Snow firm, supervised his petition drive with some help from Lincoln Strategy Group, which has offices in Phoenix, London and Barcelona.

Candidates have had since Jan. 16 to gather petition signatures and have until March 20 to turn them in. The secretary of state has so far validated only one state-level or congressional candidate, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, a Republican candidate in the 5th Congressional District. Officials have until April 27 to verify signatures and certify the primary ballot.

The primary election is June 26.


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.