Beauprez makes primary ballot — barely

Former congressman Bob Beauprez is the fourth Republican to make the primary ballot in the governor's race.

DENVER — Former Congressman Bob Beauprez became the fourth gubernatorial candidate to make the GOP primary ballot when the Secretary of State’s office certified that his campaign had turned in enough valid signatures — by the slimmest of margins.

Beauprez, who had just three weeks to get the 10,500 signatures required to make the ballot after entering the governor’s race in late February, initially appeared to have fallen just short, despite spending close to $250,000 — possibly more — on the petition collection effort.

The Secretary of State’s office decided to do an additional review late Tuesday and found that Beauprez had enough valid signatures after all.

Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who is running for governor himself, was “walled off” from the certification process, but sources indicate there was consternation within the office about the “optics” of Gessler’s office ruling Beauprez’s signatures insufficient to make the ballot and an intense effort to ensure that the petition review process was accurate.

To make the ballot via petition, candidates must turn in 1,500 signatures from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts.

In the First Congressional District encompassing Denver, Beauprez turned in 1,524 valid signatures, leaving him almost no margin for error; in the Fifth C.D. down in Colorado Springs, Beauprez turned in just 1,595 valid signatures.

Overall, 12,209 of the 23,000 petitions Beauprez turned in were accepted — that’s a 53 percent success rate.

“I am humbled by the continued loyalty and outpouring of support from the thousands of  Coloradans who encouraged me to become their next Governor,” said Beauprez in a statement from his campaign.

“I agree with them that our state is lacking a strong decisive leader and I look forward to representing their voices after November.”

Beauprez now officially joins a four-way fight for the GOP’s gubernatorial nomination that includes Tom Tancredo, whose petitions were deemed sufficient earlier this month, and Mike Kopp and Gessler, both of whom earned a spot on the primary ballot at last week’s state GOP assembly.

To collect enough signatures in just three weeks, Beauprez spent around $250,000, according to those close to his campaign.

Other sources, however, indicated that the total expense may have been somewhere well north of $300,000.