Republicans and Democrats set primary ballot for governor, Senate and other races

Andrew Kenney/CPR News
Supporters of state Rep. Ron Hanks gather around the stage to hear his nomination speech as Hanks tries to make the Senate ballot.

Members of both major parties met Saturday to select candidates for their statewide primary races.

Colorado offers hopefuls two ways to make the primary ballot. They can gather enough valid signatures to petition on, or they can win support from at least thirty percent of delegates at their party assembly. Candidates can hedge their bets and do both, but in that case, they need enough valid signatures and at least ten percent support.

For Democrats, who currently hold every statewide office up for election this year, the process was relatively simple. The state convention was held virtually, and delegates chose to put all of the incumbents -- and just the incumbents -- back on the ballot. That means Sen. Michael Bennet, Gov. Jared Polis, Attorney General Phil Weiser, Secretary of State Jena Griswold, and Treasurer Dave Young will all be unopposed in the June 28 primary.

For Republicans, though, the day set up a number of high stakes primaries.

Here's who qualified for the GOP primaries:

  • Senate (two candidates): first term state Rep. Ron Hanks was the only candidate to win enough support at the state assembly to make the ballot. He will face John O'Dea, a construction company owner who qualified through the petition process.
  • Governor (two candidates): Greg Lopez, who previously served as mayor of Parker and as head of the regional Small Business Administration office, won the largest share of delegate support and will get top line billing on the ballot. Businesswoman and CU regent Heidi Ganahl also garnered enough support to make the ballot.
  • Attorney General (two candidates): John Kellner, district attorney for Adams, Douglas and Arapahoe counties, got top billing at the assembly. Political newcomer Stanley Thorne was nominated from the floor and also won enough support to qualify. Thorne is licensed to practice law in Texas and is currently getting his credential transferred to Colorado.
  • Secretary of State (three candidates): Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who is facing felony charges for an election security breach in her office, won sixty percent of the delegate support. Mike O’Donnell, the former head of Colorado Lending Source who has also questioned Colorado's election security, also got enough support at the assembly to qualify for the primary. A third candidate, Pam Anderson, a former Jefferson County Clerk who served as head of the Colorado County Clerks Association, petitioned onto the ballot.
  • Treasurer (One candidate): Lang Sias, the former state lawmaker who ran for Lt. Governor in 2018, is the party's sole candidate in this race.

CPR reporters Bente Birkeland and Andrew Kenney contributed to this report.