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EDITORIAL: Colorado parties pick possible governors

By: The Gazette editorial board
April 15, 2018 Updated: April 15, 2018 at 7:45 pm
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Colorado Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cary Kennedy waves to the crowd while addressing the 2018 Colorado Democratic State Assembly at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield on April 14, 2018. Photo by Andy Colwell for the Gazette

Congratulations to Democrats and Republicans and candidates Cary Kennedy, Jared Polis, Walker Stapleton and Greg Lopez.

Two candidates from each of the Democratic and Republican state assemblies emerged Saturday with enough support to make the ballots of each party's June 26 gubernatorial primary.

Each assembly displayed grass-roots politics in action. Thousands of elected delegates from all reaches of Colorado gathered to hear candidates speak. Handpicked supporters spoke on candidates' behalf.

Democrats gathered in Broomfield, Republicans a few miles away in Boulder.

Any candidate obtaining at least 30 percent of delegates' support qualifies for the ballot. Former state Treasurer Kennedy won the Democratic assembly with U.S. Rep. Polis also making the ballot. Republicans made state Treasurer Stapleton their top vote-getter and also gave former Parker Mayor Lopez 32 percent of the vote. Each party's top vote-getter has top line on the ballot.

Kennedy and Stapleton will also compete in the primary against former state Sen. Michael Johnston, who petitioned onto the ballot. Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne might also compete, if the secretary of state certifies enough of her signatures.

Stapleton and Lopez might also compete against former state Rep. Victor Mitchell and businessman Doug Robinson, who await certifications of petitions.

Whatever happens with petitions, each party guarantees the public a spirited and highly competitive primary season.

If the assemblies prove anything, it is the difficulty of becoming a statewide elected official. By the time these party gatherings roll around, most candidates have printed posters, T-shirts, flyers, mailers and spent tens of thousands of dollars — sometimes hundreds of thousands — trying to win the hearts and minds of a few thousand delegates.

For those who prevail by hitting the 30 percent mark, the challenge has only begun. Multicandidate primaries are hard-fought battles, in which candidates of the same political persuasion build themselves up and inevitably tear opponents down.

For those candidates of both parties who win their primaries in June, the general election looms like a prize fight featuring two bruised and battered champions competing for the title.

It can be an ugly and tiring affair for the public, but no one said democracy was pretty. Politics is dirty business, and probably for the best. By the time the general public chooses a governor, informed voters will know everything important about their two final options.

Although the games have only begun, Saturday was an important milestone for Democrats and Republicans alike. It was a key moment in the vetting process and moves Coloradans in the direction of choosing a leader worthy of their state.

The Gazette editorial board

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