Jon Keyser will not be on the Republican primary ballot for U.S. Senate.
The Secretary of State deemed that he fell 86 valid signatures short in one of Colorado's seven Congressional Districts.
"We are confident that we secured the necessary number of signatures to appear on the ballot and we will be pursuing legal action to ensure thousands of Coloradans are not disenfranchised," Keyser's spokesman Matt Connelly said in a statement.
Keyser stepped down as state representative in January, favored as a candidate to take on Sen. Michael Bennet. He was backed by former Gov. Bill Owens, former Sen. Hank Brown and former Congressman Tom Tancredo.
Instead of going through the caucus process at the state convention, he chose to petition his way onto the ballot, by collecting signatures. Darryl Glenn made the ballot through the convention, while Republican candidate Jack Graham submitted signatures and has already been certified. The Secretary of State has yet to certify the petitions for candidates Robert Blaha and Ryan Fraizer.
They were all required to collect 1,500 signatures from registered Republicans in each of Colorado's seven Congressional Districts. Keyser submitted his signatures on March 31, four days before they were due. However, Graham submitted his signatures prior to Keyser's, meaning any voter who signed both petitions would only count for Graham.
According to the Secretary of State, he submitted 2,018 signatures in Congressional District Three, which covers western and southern Colorado, but only 1,414 were deemed valid.
A quick review of the data shows that some signatures were rejected because:
- Voter was not registered as a Republican
- Voter signed multiple petitions
- Petition circulator was not registered
- Information was incorrect
- Voter name not found
- Invalid signing date
Signature breakdown by Congressional District:
- 2,205 submitted
- 1,520 valid
- 2,410 submitted
- 1,887 valid
- 2,018 submitted
- 1,414 valid
- 2,262 submitted
- 1,770 valid
- 1,985 submitted
- 1,576 valid
- 2,270 submitted
- 1,575 valid
- 2,333 submitted
- 1,694 valid
Keyser has five days to protest the decision in Denver District Court. However, the Secretary of State has to certify the primary ballot by April 29.
In 2012, Eric Weissmann, a Republican candidate for Congressional District Two in the Boulder area, successfully made the primary ballot after going to court over invalid signatures.
Keyser had reported a war chest of about $200,000 when campaign finance filings were released this month. He reported $300,000 in campaign contributions in the first quarter of 2016.
That put him in the middle of the pack. Graham reported $341,000 in contributions, but including a million that he lent to his own campaign, he reported the most cash on hand with $942,000.
Blaha also lent his own campaign a million. With $100,000 in contributions, he reported $670,000 cash on hand after the first quarter of 2016.
Frazier reported contributions of $50,000, with $190,000 cash on hand.
And on Politics Unplugged on Sunday, Glenn admitted to having $20,000 cash on hand. He said he raised $10,000 since he secured his spot on the ballot, with another $10,000 of his own money.