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Republican state treasurer candidate Polly Lawrence plans to petition onto primary ballot

Author: Ernest Luning - January 11, 2018 - Updated: January 11, 2018

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Polly LawrenceState Rep. Polly Lawrence, a candidate for state treasurer, discusses state contracts in a campaign video shot in Grand Junction. (Screen grab, via the campaign)

Republican Polly Lawrence, a candidate for Colorado’s state treasurer, plans to petition onto the June primary ballot rather than pursue the nomination through the caucus and assembly process, her campaign said.

“She’s going to take it straight to the people,” her campaign manager, Sara Boyd, told Colorado Politics. “She’s absolutely committed to the people in this party and committed to the people in this state.”

Lawrence, a state lawmaker serving her third term representing parts of Douglas and Teller counties, is one of six GOP candidates for the seat held by term-limited State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, a Republican running for governor. Four Democrats are campaigning to take Stapleton’s place.

One of the other Republicans in the race, businessman and one-time legislative candidate Brian Watson, said last week he was planning to pursue the primary ballot via petition, Colorado Politics was first to report.

“From Montezuma to Mesa and out to Logan and everywhere in between, voters are excited about Polly’s message of locking that revolving door and stopping the year-end spend, as well as fixing PERA,” Boyd said.

Lawrence’s top priorities in office, she has said, will be to overturn policies that encourage state agencies to spend any unspent funds before the end of the fiscal year — the “year-end-spend” — and to “lock the revolving door” that lets some state employees game the system when it comes to retirement benefits. She’s vowed to reform Colorado’s Public Employees Retirement Association, known as PERA, which includes the state treasurer on its board.

In addition to Lawrence and Watson, the other Republicans running for state treasurer are state Sen. Kevin Lundberg of Berthoud, state Rep. Justin Everett of Littleton, Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn and 14th Judicial District Attorney Brett Barkey. The Democrats in the race are state Reps. Dave Young of Greeley and Steve Lebsock of Thornton, political newcomer Bernard Douthit and Charles Quin Scheibe, the state’s chief financial officer.

Statewide major-party candidates can attain a spot on the June 26 primary ballot by gathering 1,500 signatures from fellow party members in each of Colorado’s seven congressional district, for a total of 10,500. Candidates are allowed to start circulating petitions Jan. 16 and have to return them to the secretary of state’s office for verification by March 20.

The other route to the primary ballot involves the caucus and assembly process which kicks off March 6 at precinct caucuses in neighborhoods around the state. Party members elect delegates to higher assemblies, including the April 14 state assembly — it’s the same date for both Republicans and Democrats this year — where statewide candidates have to win the support of at least 30 percent of the delegates to move on to the primary.

Unaffiliated voters will be able to vote in either of the two major parties’ primaries this year for the first time.

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.