Stapleton drops petition path to governor’s race primary ballot

DENVER -- State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, a Republican candidate for governor, asked the secretary of state to disqualify the signatures he submitted to make the June primary ballot.

Stapleton's decision came after his campaign found what it said was fraudulent behavior by a firm hired to collect the signatures -- Kennedy Enterprises.

"Today I stand before you having just delivered a letter to Secretary of State Wayne Williams' office asking him to remove me from the ballot and disqualify every single one of the signatures gathered by Kennedy enterprises," Stapleton said.

"In good conscience I can't be put on the ballot in this manner. ... I will be filing a lawsuit against Mr. Kennedy as soon as possible."

Stapleton will attempt to get on the ballot Saturday at the State Assembly. He will need 30 percent support of the delegates in attendance.

"I feel good about our grass-roots efforts," Stapleton said.

Many journalists across Colorado had been investigating the Stapleton signatures for days, taking a closer look at who collected them and whether they legally resided in Colorado.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers found 14 petition collectors for Stapleton who called hotels home on their voter registration forms.

Being registered to vote with a hotel address is not illegal, but it would have likely resulted in lawsuits if Stapleton continued going through the signature route.

Castle Rock Motel (125 S. Wilcox St., Castle Rock)

Two signature collectors used address.

  • Blake Hobart
  • O.J. Vincent

Quality Inn & Suites (3910 Outlook Blvd, Pueblo)

Seven signature collectors used this address.

  • Patricio Diaz
  • Christal Dames
  • Brandon Westbrunk
  • Dean Easton
  • Jay Harmon
  • Robert Davenport
  • Carven Exantus

Woodspring Suites (13253 E. Briarwood Ave., Centennial)

Four signature collectors used this address.

  • John Lennon
  • Tiondre Robertson
  • Clifford Jacobs
  • Brandon Ushry

Trails End Motel (9025 W. 63rd Ave., Arvada)

One signature collector used this address.

  • Carlo Scarsella

House in Thornton (564 W. 91st Circle, Thornton)

Five signature collectors used this address.

  • Joshua Whaley
  • Joshua Stinger
  • Terrance Despres Jr
  • Jason McCarthy
  • Jeffery Canter

Stapleton's decision is being met with controversy from some GOP candidates, including Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who is also trying to make the June primary ballot at the assembly.

"Once again Walker Stapleton has shown his true colors. He’s proven to Colorado voters that he can’t be trusted to play by the rules.

"The truth is, Walker tried to avoid addressing Republican delegates and got tripped up in the execution of his own political strategy.

“A candidate shouldn’t be rewarded because he couldn’t buy his way onto the ballot. Walker is stuck with the consequences of his decisions and the Colorado State Party and the Secretary of State should not be in the business of picking winners and losers by manipulating the caucus and assembly process after the fact.

“We all knew the rules and presumably we all abided by them. If they allow Walker Stapleton to go through the Assembly now, they are violating their obligation to the delegates to have a fair and neutral process.

“Walker chose to hire a group of shady petitions gatherers with a notorious and sordid past. Now, in the 11th hour, he once again shows no respect for the rules, the party or Republican delegates.

"Now, it will be up to the delegates to decide who they trust to represent their interests in the primary elections."

Kennedy Enterprises released a statement Tuesday evening that read in part: “I have not and did not lie to any of my clients or the Colorado Secretary of State at any time. And to the best of my knowledge the signatures collected on the Stapleton campaign we're [sic] all collected lawfully. I hold the Stapleton campaign, as well as all of my clients with the utmost regard and regret this apparent misunderstanding."

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