DENVER - Bob Beauprez claimed victory over three other candidates in the Republican primary race for Colorado governor Tuesday night.
At 9:45 p.m., Bob Beauprez was leading his four challengers, with 30 percent of the primary vote. Tom Tancredo had 27 percent. Scott Gessler was next with 23 percent and Mike Kopp had 20 percent. The percentages were from 333,888 votes counted so far.
That was welcome news to national Republicans who feared that Tancredo could be a drag on the GOP ticket in November. Beauprez will face Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.
"I see a Colorado like we always had...where people can find a job. Where every child has an opportunity to learn," he told the crowd of supporters that gathered to hear him speak after the race was called.
“As you know, in order to win in Colorado, you have to win your party, but you also have to win independents and Democrats, how are you going to appeal to everyone else?" asked 7NEWS reporter Marc Stewart.
"When we're talking about opportunity, that doesn't have a R or an D behind it. And whole lot of people are still wondering where's the opportunity for them. We're supposedly five years into this “Obama/Looper” recovery and people are still wondering 'where's mine?' They don't feel so recovered," said Beauprez. "Nobody's ever really laid a hand on Governor Hickenlooper or exposed his record and so I look forward to doing that. It is a record I think of failed leadership and lost opportunity for Colorado."
Gov. John Hickenlooper also sent congratulations to Beauprez.
"I congratulate Congressman Beauprez and look forward to a positive conversation about the future of our state," he said. "Over the past four years we've seen Colorado go from 40th to fourth in job creation, and we've seen unemployment drop from 9 percent to 5.8 percent. We're committed to keeping that positive momentum going until Colorado is number one in the country for job creation."
Beauprez served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006. The 65-year-old represented a suburban Denver district in Congress from 2003 to 2007.
Beauprez entered the GOP governor race in February. He described himself to primary voters as the best choice to defeat Hickenlooper, who has far outpaced all GOP challengers in fundraising.
7NEWS reporter Marc Stewart will have a live update at 10.