In a shocking turn of events, Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, who is running as one of 123 (or so it seems) candidates for Governor, ditched his petitions that already had been approved by the Secretary of State to go through the GOP Assembly this weekend. Stapleton pulled his petitions after learning last night that his signature gathering firm lied to him about the eligibility of a signature gatherer. This has some major implications on the GOP gubernatorial primary.

Who Loses? Other Candidates Going Through Assembly

First, from whom will Walker take votes at the Assembly this coming weekend? The two most prominent Republican gubernatorial candidates going through the process are Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and businessman Barry Farah. We assume he will take votes from both of these candidates, which may mean that one or both do not get the 30% threshold needed at the Assembly to make the ballot. With a crowded field, the likelihood is that only one or two candidates will make the ballot.

Who Wins? Maybe Doug Robinson

Next, the question becomes whether Stapleton’s petitions would invalidate the signatures of those next in line. We’ll explain. Technically, Colorado voters can only sign one petition per election. So, for example, if you signed a petition to help Stapleton get on the ballot, and if you also signed Doug Robinson’s petition and Stapleton submitted his petitions first, your signature on Robinson’s petition no longer counts. Stapleton submitted his petitions first, Robinson second, and Vic Mitchell third. Had the petition process gone as scheduled, Stapleton’s signatures would have invalidated repeats on Robinson’s petitions, which would have invalidated repeats on Mitchell’s petitions. Make sense?

We have this question in to the Secretary of State’s office, but if Stapleton scraps his petitions, do they still invalidate the signatures that candidates submitted after he did? We will keep you posted on what we hear; however, if Stapleton’s petitions no longer conflict with Robinson’s petitions, Stapleton just presented Robinson with a giant gift. Robinson had only submitted approximately 17,000 signatures. In order to make the ballot, Robinson needed 10,500 signatures. That’s a 61% pass rate…without any duplicates. Nobody has a pass rate that high, so far.

If Stapleton’s signatures invalidate those next in line, he just helped clear the field, but, if not, that’s a huge gift to Robinson (and perhaps Mitchell).

Who Wins? Definitely Walker Stapleton

While Stapleton’s opponents going through the Assembly are trying to call foul, this move actually reflects pretty well on Stapleton. How many times have we shaken our fists at politicians who know something is amiss and turn a blind eye? Looking at you, Crisanta Duran and your promotion of known sexual harasser Steve Lebsock to a committee chairmanship. But we digress. We ask, plead, and beg for politicians to do the right thing, and here’s one who did.