Gessler touts more grassroots endorsements in governor’s race

Secretary of State Scott Gessler during a FOX31 gubernatorial primary debate earlier this year.

Secretary of State Scott Gessler during a FOX31 gubernatorial primary debate earlier this year.

DENVER — Secretary of State Scott Gessler, looking to build momentum for his gubernatorial bid after finishing first in last week’s GOP caucus straw poll, announced more endorsements from elected officials around Colorado.

This move comes a day after Bob Beauprez, who finished second in the straw poll on the same day he made a late entrance into the race, rolled out a finance team that included some former Gessler supporters.

Many of the new names on Gessler’s list are county commissioners from various corners of the state, Broomfield Mayor Randy Ahrens and Douglas County School Board member Doug Benevento.

Gessler, who also has support from former Congressman Bob Schaffer, former House Speaker Lola Spradley, former state Rep. B.J. Nikkel and current state Reps. Clarice Navarro and Lois Landgraf, believes that the list of 70 endorsements shows that conservatives at the local, grassroots level are firmly behind his campaign.

“Since I entered six months ago I have invested the time to travel the state and meet with local leaders and I’m honored to have their endorsements,” Gessler said. “This goes to show that people are tired of establishment politicians who take their support for granted.”

Heading into next month’s state GOP assembly, Gessler is looking to position himself as the grassroots choice and, implicitly, portraying Beauprez as the candidate of the GOP establishment.

Beauprez’s finance team includes former U.S. Senate candidate and beer magnate Pete Coors, Rockies co-owner Dick Monfort and Sean Tonner, a deputy chief of staff to former Gov. Bill Owens.

Beauprez is also the favorite of the Republican Governors Association, which is likely to put additional resources behind his campaign should he win the primary.

Tom Tancredo, the former congressman and presidential candidate, has stayed atop early primary polls but finished third in GOP caucuses last week.

Like Beauprez, he’s planning to petition onto the June 24 primary ballot.

Gessler, on the other hand, has focused on getting enough support from GOP assembly delegates to qualify for the ballot there.

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