Former Republican congressman Bob Beauprez is poised to win the Colorado GOP primary to face off against Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in November.
With nearly 86.7 percent of ballots counted, Beauprez had a 3.7-point leadover the second place finisher, former congressman Tom Tancredo.
Candidates Scott Gessler, the Colorado secretary of state, and former state Sen. Mike Kopp brought up the rear, with 23.4 percent and 19.8 percent of the vote, respectively.
Tancredo conceded the race shortly before 8 p.m., calling Beauprez to offer his congratulations.
“I like the way we came out,” Beauprez said earlier in the night, in comments reported by the Denver Post. “I hope it stays this way, but these things can go back and forth all night.”
The outcome of the primary is largely credited to spending, with Beauprez spending more than the others on television advertising, most of it in the last week before Tuesday’s primary.
Paradoxically, Tancredo benefited from an ad campaign funded by Democrats, according to Denver’s Fox 31, who would have preferred the bombastic iconoclast — who the Colorado Springs Gazette said wouldn’t stand a chance against Hickenlooper, a popular Democratic incumbent — to the more mainstream Beauprez.(RELATED: Newspaper: Tancredo Vs. Hickenlooper A ‘Nightmare’ For GOP)
Fox 31 reported that “most of Tancredo’s money seems to have gone to paid consultants,” noting that he didn’t run much of a campaign, having refused to debate the other candidates and relied primarily on his name recognition.
Republicans are likely breathing easier with Beauprez’s apparent victory, which they beleive signals a tougher fight for Democrats to retain the governor’s office than if Tancredo had won. Beauprez is widely believed to have broader appeal than Tancredo, whose serial candidacies have been dominated by what the Gazette called his “over-zealous obsession” with immigration policy.
In Colorado’s other major race for the 4th congressional district nomination, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck is cruising to easy victory over three other contenders, with nearly twice as many votes as Scott Renfroe, the second place finisher.
Buck is running to replace Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.
See the latest gubernatorial results here.
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