DENVER - Former Congressman Bob Beauprez may be entering the crowded GOP race for governor late, but he's undaunted by the task ahead.

"We're going to start distributing petitions this week," Beauprez said Tuesday morning.

Republican and Democrats across the state meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday to begin the process of picking delegates for county assemblies and eventually district and state conventions.

Candidates for governor must either receive 30 percent of the delegate vote at the state convention or petition onto the ballot with 1,500 signatures from registered voters in each of Colorado's seven congressional districts.

"In 2002, the first time I ran, I got in at exactly the same time, March," Beauprez said, noting there were seven candidates already in the race for 7th Congressional District. "We won the primary and then won the closest election in history."

There are seven other Republicans in the race for governor: Sen. Greg Brophy, a farmer from Wray; Secretary of State Scott Gessler; Steve House, a businessman from Brighton; and former Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp; former Congressman Tom Tancredo and rancher Roni Bell Sylvester.

An eighth candidate, Jason Clark, withdrew from the race on Sunday urging other candidates to do the same and back Beauprez.

No one has taken him up on the suggestion.

It's a mixed bag about which candidates will go through the caucus and which will bypass by petitioning onto the ballot. Candidates who do participate in the caucus must receive at least 10 percent of the vote to be allowed to petition on, otherwise they are locked out.

Beauprez enters the race with a good deal of fanfare but probably about the same name recognition as Gessler, who currently holds a state-wide office, and Tancredo, who served as a U.S. Representative and ran for president.

Beauprez ran for governor in 2006 and lost to Democrat Bill Ritter.

"I take a lot of responsibility for 2006," Beauprez said. "I've learned more from the times you stubbed your toe - when you make mistakes - than when things are a bit easier."

He said Colorado has an incumbent governor, Hickenlooper, who has a record that's easy to be critical of and an electorate ready for change.

"He's from the other party so I didn't expect to agree with him all the time," Beauprez said.

But he said Hickenlooper didn't veto a single bill from what Beauprez said is one of the most liberal General Assemblies ever in Colorado.

"That isn't middle of the road, that isn't pro-business," Beauprez said.

So the 65-year-old former congressman decided to enter the race. He grew up a farmer outside of Boulder and now runs a buffalo ranch in the Colorado mountains.

Since leaving public office he's written a book and launched a policy e-magazine.

While he's critical of Hickenlooper, Beauprez continues the trend of keeping the primary clean.

"I've got a lot of friends in this race," he said.


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