Gessler joins Colorado governor’s race
DENVER — Secretary of State Scott Gessler has joined the Colorado GOP governor’s race, saying he believes Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is vulnerable in part because of his support of stricter gun laws passed by the Democrat-controlled Legislature this year.
Gessler joins a field of Republicans trying to oust Hickenlooper. Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and state Sen. Greg Brophy of Wray have already announced their candidacies.
“What I offer is a great track record of achievement,” Gessler said Tuesday. “We’ve been incredibly innovative and dynamic in the secretary of state office,” including making the state among the first in the country to have online secure-lien filings.
He promised a commitment to get government out of the way of successful innovators and cut state regulations to create jobs, the Denver Post reported Wednesday (http://tinyurl.com/p2rytaq ).
He was flanked by former U.S. Rep. Bob Schaffer and state Rep. Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff, a Republican from Pueblo.
A poll last month showed just 45 percent of Colorado voters want Hickenlooper re-elected, and half disapprove of his stance on new gun laws and the death penalty after his refusal to set an execution date for a convicted mass murderer.
The Quinnipiac (KWIHN’-uh-pee-ak) University poll puts Hickenlooper’s approval rating at 48 percent, and he’s statistically tied with Tancredo, who’s known mostly for his tough position on immigration. Hickenlooper leads the former congressman 46 percent to 45 percent in the 2014 race, within the poll’s margin of error.
Friday’s numbers underscore the fact that Hickenlooper is going through one of the most tumultuous times in his political career, after years of popularity dating back to his time as Denver mayor.
Two of his biggest challenges came in the past six months. He signed new gun laws in March, including more background checks and limits on ammunition magazine sizes. Then in May he granted an indefinite stay of execution to Nathan Dunlap, who killed four people at a Chuck E. Cheese in 1993.
Both decisions didn’t sit well with potential voters, according to the poll. Forty-eight percent of voters polled disapprove of how he’s handled the death penalty, while 27 percent approve. On gun policy, 52 percent disapprove of him, while 35 percent approve.
Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com