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Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney waits for the start of a welterweight bout between Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines and Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada December 8, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BOXING POLITICS) - RTR3BDG8 Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney waits for the start of a welterweight bout between Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines and Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada December 8, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BOXING POLITICS) - RTR3BDG8  

Mitt Romney Endorses Bob Beauprez In Colorado Governor’s Race

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney weighed in on the Colorado gubernatorial race Tuesday, endorsing former Rep. Bob Beauprez in a crowded field of GOP primary contenders.

“As a former governor, I can tell you that Bob Beauprez has exactly what Colorado needs to lead,” said the former Massachusetts governor in an email announcing his support, which was first reported by Denver’s Fox 31. “Bob’s unique combination of passion, drive, conservative values and experience will make him an outstanding governor.”

Beauprez is facing off against Secretary of State Scott Gessler, former Rep. Tom Tancredo and former Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp.

“As governor, [Beauprez] will give struggling Coloradans the opportunity to work,” Romney’s announcement continued. “He will reduce spending and streamline state government. He will restore the rights of gun owners and put the welcome mat out for businesses to return. He will improve education by empowering teachers and parents. He will enforce the laws of the people and hold criminals accountable for their misdeeds.”

Romney is putting his name behind several candidates who supported his 2012 candidacy, in which he lost the presidential race to Barack Obama.

“I’m honored,” Beauprez told Fox 31. “This is a man who knows what it takes to be a governor. This is a businessman who’s created jobs, who understands how the economy works, who recognizes leadership.”

Liberal groups mocked the announcement, noting both Romney and Beauprez have been labeled as flip-floppers in past campaigns. Liberal website ColoradoPols headlined its article about the announcement, “Multiple-Choice Mitt endorses Both-Ways Bob.”

Beauprez is also the candidate of choice for his former primary opponents. Rep. Greg Brophy and Colorado businessman Steve House — both of whom failed to make the ballot — also back Beauprez.

“I want Republicans to win this November and Bob is the best prepared to win and then govern Colorado back to greatness,” Brophy told Fox 31 on Monday.

Beauprez was the GOP nominee for governor in 2006; he lost that race by 17 points to Democrat Bill Ritter.

The Republican nominee will face incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in November. The latest poll on the race, conducted by Magellan Strategies in mid-April, has Hickenlooper ahead of Beauprez by 50-35 percent. Quinnipiac University’s latest poll has a tighter margin, with Hickenlooper ahead 48-39.

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