Partisans gather Saturday to choose candidates

GOP assembly will be interesting

DENVER – Democrats and Republicans gather Saturday to choose their top candidates for the November election.

For Democrats, the state assembly in Denver will be a coronation of incumbent Sen. Mark Udall and Gov. John Hickenlooper.

For Republicans, the party assembly in Boulder will be a bit more interesting.

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, cleared away much of the field when he entered the U.S. Senate race last month. But state Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, could still get on the ballot if he gets at least 30 percent of the votes from Republican delegates to the assembly Saturday. The party’s candidate will be chosen officially at the primary election on June 24.

The Republican race for governor is even more of a free-for-all, with half a dozen candidates in the race. Secretary of State Scott Gessler enters the assembly as the favorite, but state Sen. Greg Brophy of Wray also hopes to get at least 30 percent of the delegates and qualify for the primary.

Former state Sen. Mike Kopp, and Republican activists Steve House and Ronnie Bell Sylvester are also in the running.

Up to three candidates could end up advancing to the primary after Saturday. They would join one or two other big names on the ballot.

Former U.S. Reps. Tom Tancredo and Bob Beauprez have gathered petition signatures instead of courting delegates at the assembly, and Tancredo has already qualified for the primary ballot.

Republicans also will choose between attorney general candidates Mark Waller and Cynthia Coffman. Unless either Waller or Coffman gets at least 70 percent of the vote Saturday, then the final decision will be made at the June primary election. But Saturday’s winner will get the top line on the primary ballot.

The delegates at both party assemblies are activists who spent the last two months advancing though neighborhood caucus meetings and county assemblies.