Scott Gessler evaluating run for Colorado governor in 2014

Posted: May 20, 2013 in local news
Tags: , ,

By Kurtis Lee
The Denver Post

Scott Gessler, the current Colorado secretary of state, is weighing a potential run for governor in 2014, campaign officials confirmed Thursday.

Republican sources have told The Denver Post that Gessler is strongly considering dropping a re-election effort for his post as secretary of state — where he’s served since being elected in 2010 — to seek the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

“No doubt, Gessler is frustrated with the state’s current leadership and he’s evaluating how best he can serve the people of Colorado,” Rory McShane, political director of Gessler for Colorado, said in an e-mail Thursday.

In March, the Colorado Statesmanreported Gessler’s formal announcementthat he would again run for secretary of state in 2014. According to campaign finance reports on the secretary of state website, Gessler has raised about $77,000 for re-election to his current post and has about $31,000 cash on hand.

Those funds, were Gessler to move over to the gubernatorial campaign, would transfer.

On Wednesday, The Denver Postreported that former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo is seriously considering a run for governor in 2014.

In his short tenure as Colorado’s top elections chief, Gessler has been assailed by critics on the left for “disenfranchising” voters. He also is currently ensnarled in astate ethics investigationas to whether he used taxpayer money to attend a partisan event.

A tiff between Gessler and Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson over whether ballots should be mailed to so-called “inactive voters” in the November 2011 election led to Johnson filing a lawsuit against Gessler. At the time, Johnson’s office provided maps that showed that the precincts with the highest concentration of inactive voters also are those with the highest concentration of Latino and African-American residents. The lawsuitwas dismissedin April.

And last year, Gessler waged an effort to remove any noncitizens from the state’s voter rolls before the November election in an attempt to stave off any voter fraud. Democrats assailed Gessler for “voter intimidation.”

“If the Republicans seriously want to turn a page in regard to their public profile with Latinos, neither Gessler or Tancredo will allow them to turn that page,” said political analyst Eric Sondermann.

In 2012, Latino voters — a growing electorate here in Colorado — heavily backed Democratic candidates.

More recently, Gessler was instaunch opposition to a billthat passed through the legislature allowing for Election Dayregistrationand voting. The measure, signed into law by Hickenlooper, received zero support from Republican lawmakers, though several GOP county clerks signed on in support of the measure.

Sondermann said that in the end for Republicans to unseat Hickenlooper, it’s going to take a “Herculean effort.”

“And neither Tancredo or Gessler looks to me like Hercules,” he said.

Kurtis Lee: 303-954-1655, klee@denverpost.com or twitter.com/kurtisalee

Staff writer Lynn Bartels contributed to this report.

Read more:Scott Gessler evaluating run for Colorado governor in 2014 – The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_23261132/scott-gessler-evaluating-run-colorado-governor-2014#ixzz2TrOdxD8d
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