U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez wins governor primary

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez celebrates after winning the GOP primary at an election party in Denver on Tuesday, June 24. His wife Claudia is at left. Beauprez defeated Scott Gessler, Tom Tancredo, and Mike Kopp for the Republican nomination. Enlargephoto

The Associated Press

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez celebrates after winning the GOP primary at an election party in Denver on Tuesday, June 24. His wife Claudia is at left. Beauprez defeated Scott Gessler, Tom Tancredo, and Mike Kopp for the Republican nomination.

DENVER – Republican voters on Tuesday opted for U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez to challenge Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in November, pinning their hopes to end a long electoral drought in Colorado on a candidate who lost his previous gubernatorial bid by 17 points.

In Montezuma County, Mike Kopp won 31.59 percent of the votes (1,079 votes); Tom Tancredo, 26.96 percent (921); Scott Gessler, 21.98 percent (751); and Bob Beuprez, 19.47 percent (665).

Beauprez, a buffalo rancher who grew up working on his father’s dairy farm, defeated three other Republican candidates in a sleepy primary with little advertising thunder. That will change fast: Hickenlooper, who has raised nearly $3 million for his re-election bid, already has bought $1.4 million in television advertising for the weeks leading up to the general election.

The victory punctuates an eight-year journey for Beauprez back to the Republican Party spotlight, and shows that despite his past defeat the GOP establishment still views him as the most formidable candidate against Hickenlooper.

Hickenlooper cited that unemployment in the state is now 5.8 percent, compared to 9 percent four years ago. “We’re committed to keeping that positive momentum going until Colorado is number one in the country for job creation,” his statement read.

Beauprez defeated another former congressman, Tom Tancredo, Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former state Sen. Mike Kopp on Tuesday’s primary.