DENVER — Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who’s embraced his nickname and told supporters that “this Honey Badger is ready to fight”, is following through on that pledge, taking aim at his two top rivals in Colorado’s upcoming GOP gubernatorial primary.
Just as primary ballots are being mailed to voters, Gessler is hitting the airwaves with his first TV ad of the campaign, which reminds voters that Bob Beauprez and Tom Tancredo have both run for governor before and lost, in 2006 and 2010, respectively.
“They’re both running again but we can’t risk losing again,” says a male narrator in the ad. “We need Scott Gessler, a proven conservative who’s already defeated a Democrat incumbent.”
While many observers continue to speculate that Beauprez, favored by the Republican Governors Association and the GOP establishment, gives the party the best chance to prevent the controversial (and, according to some, unelectable) Tancredo from winning the nomination, Gessler’s campaign appears to be heading toward the finish line with serious grassroots support.
Gessler out-raised all of his rivals during the final two weeks of May, bringing in $39,794, enough to increase his cash on hand total to $69,143 after what is a $90,000 ad buy, enough to get the new spot up on cable across the state and on the networks in the Colorado Springs market.
“Thanks to tremendous grassroots support we’ve finished another fundraising report in first place, allowing us to run an aggressive ad campaign that highlights my record and conservative vision,” Gessler said.
Beauprez, who is in the middle of a get-out-the-vote tour across the state, raised the smallest amount of money in the last fundraising period, just $21,860. But he loaned his campaign $100,000, giving himself $115,996 cash on hand, nearly double what Gessler and Tancredo have in the bank.
The primary election will conclude on June 24.
Most analysts view the incumbent, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, as a heavy favorite to win reelection in the fall; and Hickenlooper’s strong fundraising numbers are an indication of his strong support.