What's The Ballot Impact If Political Candidate Drops Out?

Questions Arise About Potential Candidate Vacancies After 7NEWS Investigation

If a candidate for state office drops out of a political race after winning the party's primary, that party's vacancy committee gets to choose a replacement.

The question has come up since CALL7 Investigators found that Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis plagiarized writings on water rights. The Hasan Family Foundation paid McInnis $300,000 over two years, to provide articles on water law.

On Tuesday, McInnis told CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia that parts of a series of articles he submitted to the Hasan Foundation were plagiarized from a 1984 article by now-Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs. He said the mistake was made by a research assistant -- a former engineer at the Colorado River Water Conservation District -- who thought the article was in the "public domain," but McInnis couldn't clearly say what he contributed to the work.

That research assistant, Rolly Fischer, told Ferrugia in an exclusive interview on Wednesday that he did not know his research was going to be used for articles for which McInnis was paid $300,000.

McInnis faces Republican Dan Maes in the August 10 primary.

If one of the candidates were to drop out prior to the primary, the candidate who remains would be the default winner to face Democrat John Hickenlooper in the November election.

If the winner of the primary were to drop out after the primary election, the Republican Party vacancy committee would get to pick the new candidate to face Hickenlooper.

If a new candidate was not named by early-to-mid September, the November ballot would still include the name of the primary winner, even though they had dropped out. According to the Secretary of State's office, any vote for a candidate who dropped out, would count as a vote for the replacement candidate.

If a new candidate were selected in early September, there would be enough time to put that person's name on the ballot.