BOULDER | Republican U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner won’t have a primary before taking on Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.
Gardner, a two-term congressman from eastern Colorado, edged two GOP rivals Saturday in a statewide Republican assembly.
Gardner was expected to cruise to victory in a June 24 primary and go on to face Udall, who is running for a second term. But Gardner’s performance at the assembly means the other Republican hopefuls won’t even appear on ballots.
Gardner never acknowledged his GOP rivals in a speech Saturday, talking only about Colorado’s importance to the national political landscape. Colorado is among a handful of states Republicans hope to pick up in order to take control of the chamber.
“Colorado is the fulcrum of the balance of power,” Gardner told some 4,000 GOP delegates at the assembly.
Republicans also narrowed down the list of gubernatorial hopefuls from seven to four.
Former state Sen. Mike Kopp and Secretary of State Scott Gessler won the right to appear on June 24 ballots.
They’ll face two former congressmen — Reps. Bob Beauprez and Tom Tancredo. The former congressmen submitted petition signatures instead of participating in the state assembly. Tancredo’s petition has already been certified as sufficient to make ballots. Beauprez’s petition is still pending, but he is thought certain to have met the threshold.
The Republicans’ eventual gubernatorial nominee will challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in November.
Kopp and Gessler edged three additional Republicans hoping to make primary ballots through assembly votes.
Also advancing to primary ballots were two Republicans running for attorney general — Cynthia Coffman and Mark Waller. Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton advanced without opposition, as did the sole candidate to replace Gessler as secretary of state, El Paso County clerk Wayne Williams.
Colorado is among a handful of states that use assemblies to help winnow primary hopefuls.
The state Democratic party also held a statewide assembly Saturday. But with the top seats held by Democratic incumbents seeking re-election, there was little at stake for the Democrats Saturday.
Kristen Wyatt can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/APkristenwyatt