Election 2018GovernorNews

Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton submits nominating petitions

Author: Ernest Luning - February 23, 2018 - Updated: February 23, 2018

Walker-Stapleton-Reorg-W.jpg
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 on Friday turned in nominating petitions to the Colorado secretary of state’s office, beating two other GOP candidates who are also gathering signatures statewide in an attempt to qualify for the June primary ballot.

Stapleton, the state treasurer, submitted roughly 21,000 signatures — twice the number required to make the ballot — his campaign said.

“It was our goal to be the first Republican to submit our petitions and today we accomplished that,” Stapleton campaign manager Michael Fortney told Colorado Politics.

He’s the third candidate to deliver petitions to election officials in what will soon turn into a scramble to get signatures counted. Republican congressional candidate Darryl Glenn, an El Paso County commissioner and the GOP’s 2016 U.S. Senate nominee, got his petitions in last week, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Johnston, a former state senator from Denver, turned his in Wednesday.

It takes 10,500 valid signatures from fellow party members — 1,500 in each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts — for major party candidates to qualify for the primary ballot for statewide office, including governor, attorney general and state treasurer.

Republican gubernatorial candidates Doug Robinson, a former investment banker and one of Mitt Romney’s nephews, and Victor Mitchell, a wealthy entrepreneur and former state lawmaker, are also circulating petitions.

Candidates who turn in their petitions first have an advantage over primary rivals because of the way the secretary of state validates signatures. A voter can only sign one nominating petition for each office, and election officials count voter signatures in the order they’re submitted by candidates. In other words, if a voter has signed Stapleton’s petition, his or her signature won’t count if it also appears on Robinson’s or Mitchell’s.

Petitioners have been able to circulate petitions since Jan. 16 and have until March 20 to turn them in.

Stapleton is one of 10 Republicans running to replace term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat. Others are going through the caucus and assembly process, which kicks off March 6 at precinct caucuses and culminates on April 14 at state assembly. There, andidates must get the support of 30 percent of delegates to get on 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.