Republican candidate for Colorado governor Walker Stapleton is withdrawing his ballot petition over concerns about the company his campaign hired to gather signatures.
Instead, Stapleton — who is considered a front-runner for the Republican nomination — will now attempt to get onto the primary ballot at this Saturday’s GOP state assembly in Boulder. That process requires getting 30 percent of delegates.
Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and businessman Barry Farah are also seeking nomination through the assembly. Stapleton's announcement ramps up the competition.
In a letter to Secretary of State Wayne Williams sent Tuesday, April 10, Stapleton asked for the petition signatures to be thrown out — even though the signatures had already been verified.
Stapleton's campaign at first denied accusations that there were problems with the company they paid to collect signatures, Kennedy Enterprises. But the campaign says it learned April 9 that one of the circulators not qualified.
Williams says Stapleton is doing the right thing.
“He is saying, ‘look, I don’t want any of my process tainted by this — even though those were actual signatures of Coloradans,’” Williams says.
Williams says it’s not uncommon for a candidate to withdraw a petition if they choose a different method to qualify for the ballot or decide not to run — but he says the circumstances surrounding Stapleton’s withdrawal are unusual.
The move comes comes after five Republicans filed a lawsuit in Denver District Court alleging the same firm, Kennedy Enterprises, was not legally allowed to circulate petitions in Colorado. At issue in that case are signatures gathered for GOP congressman Doug Lamborn. The Secretary of State’s office has already qualified Lamborn for the summer’s primary ballot.
Williams says if it makes sense, his office can send matters to a district attorney for investigation.
“In this case it appears that at least one of the individuals working with the firm that was hired acted inappropriately,” he says. “We’ll review whether that’s appropriate to refer for investigation.”