Republican Jon Keyser did not qualify for the Republican Senate primary in Colorado, the state’s chief elections officer said Monday, prompting Keyser’s campaign to announce that it would take legal action to get him on the ballot.
“We are confident that we secured the necessary number of signatures to appear on the ballot,” Keyser spokesman Matt Connelly said. “We will be pursuing legal action to ensure thousands of Coloradans are not disenfranchised.”
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Colorado Senate candidates are required to gather 1,500 valid signatures from each of the state’s seven congressional districts to qualify for the primary ballot. Keyser fell short in the state’s vast 3rd District, according to the secretary of state.
“A prolific signature gatherer wasn’t registered in the district he/she was supposed to be registered in,” said one source close to Keyser’s campaign. “So the sigs were ‘valid’ but collected by the wrong person.”
Keyser’s campaign submitted 16,067 petition signatures, according to a statement from Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office. “Of that 11,436 were deemed valid.” One-third of Keyser’s rejected signatures were thrown out because of problems with the petition circulators, not the petition signers themselves, according to documentation from Williams’ office.
Keyser, who collected support nationally and locally for his Senate bid since he announced his campaign earlier this year, will take his complaint to Denver district court. The campaign will be able to challenge each rejected signature. Williams spokeswoman Lynn Bartels wrote in an email that the elections office wants the process “to go super fast. We are trying to set the ballot on Friday for the primary.”
Two Republican candidates have already qualified for the primary: former Colorado State University athletic director Jack Graham, whose petitions were validated by the secretary of state last week, and El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, who earned his spot via a vote at the state party convention earlier this month.
Republican businessman Robert Blaha and former Aurora city councilman Ryan Frazier also tried to petition onto the ballot, though their signatures have not yet been verified. Bartels said she expects the office to release announcements on whether Blaha and Frazier have reached the ballot “within a day or two.”
The GOP race for the right to take on Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet has already been upended once this month, when conservative state Sen. Tim Neville shockingly failed to win a primary spot at the state assembly, where Glenn dominated the activists’ vote.
Eli Stokols contributed reporting.
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