I was disappointed and, frankly, rather shocked to read The Gazette's recent over-the-top editorial that blatantly misconstrued my position on debate participation during the Republican primary.
By now, my true and consistent position on this issue should be well known: I will participate only in debates that include all credible Republican candidates. This decision was made to create a standard that is fair to all candidates and is intended to give Republican voters a clear choice.
So, I was surprised to see that The Gazette claims that I insulted other candidates, especially in light of the fact that my campaign attempted to immediately correct The Gazette's reporting error. Rather than clarifying my clear position on debates during the GOP primary, the newspaper intentionally repeated its mistake, falsely claiming that I implied that other candidates were not legitimate.
Perhaps I am, as was written, a "troublesome nominee"?
Troublesome for Gov. John Hickenlooper, who misled Colorado voters about his extreme liberal views, has failed to lead and has shown no vision for the future of our state. I firmly believe that we deserve better.
Mine is a record of electoral victory and leadership.
As a first-time candidate in 2010, I convincingly beat a Democrat incumbent statewide when the "ranking Republican insiders" said that it could not be done. These same un-named "insiders" are the very people who have stood by as the Republican Party has failed in election after election, resulting in the to-be-determined governorship of John Hickenlooper.
I'm not concerned about the insiders - I'm focused on the fact that I'm the only candidate in this primary who has won a statewide race, and I'm the only candidate who can beat John Hickenlooper.
Mine is a lifetime of achievement and service. One who served as a federal prosecutor, honorably served as a U.S. Army officer, worked to build and manage small businesses, earned advanced degrees in business and law and, every day, goes home to serve as a husband and father to two young children.
The Gazette does not deny any of this but still opted to dredge up old, baseless political attacks, citing as their only sources "ranking Republican insiders."
To be overly diplomatic, this was simply a case of sloppy, reckless reporting.
I do appreciate The Gazette's willingness to print this rebuttal. And, so that my position on debates during the primary is absolutely clear - I will enthusiastically participate in any debate or forum at which all credible Republican candidates are present. I look forward to having that opportunity.
Scott Gessler is Colorado's secretary of state.