KUSA - Former congressman Bob Beauprez will file as a candidate for governor of Colorado on Monday, becoming the eighth GOP candidate in the field hoping to challenge Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado.)
Sources in the campaign tell 9NEWS that Beauprez will not begin active campaigning until Tuesday, after he delivers an in-person pitch Monday with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock for a bid to bring the 2016 Republican National Convention to Colorado.
He declined to provide a comment to 9NEWS on his entry into the race Monday, citing of respect for the mayor. Beauprez is chairman of the effort to attract the RNC to Denver.
The already crowded field of GOP contenders includes another former congressman: Tom Tancredo.
Also in the hunt are current Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, state Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray,) former state Sen. Mike Kopp.
Although Beauprez is widely viewed as the frontrunner, his late entry has not muscled out his biggest competition for the GOP nomination.
Tancredo, Gessler, and Brophy all tell 9NEWS they are staying in the race, setting the table for a primary fight likely to arm the Hickenlooper campaign with ammo against the eventual nominee.
"The Republican electorate will get to decide if they want a proven loser from the past, someone with too much baggage," Brophy said. "Or a dynamic fresh leader."
Tancredo and Gessler opted against throwing fire at Beauprez.
"The water is fine," Tancredo joked of Beauprez getting in. "His is a friend. And if he can get the job done, God bless him."
"This election is about who can best lead Colorado to a better future," Gessler said. "As a friend, I look forward to seeing him on the campaign trail. "
On the technical side, Beauprez is coming in to the race on the day before precinct caucuses, the first step to winning delegates at the state GOP assembly in April.
Filing before holding campaign events could indicate that Beauprez will attempt to circulate a petition to gain primary ballot access.
The petition process requires gathering more than 10,000 signatures from registered Republican voters (1,500 from each of Colorado's seven congressional districts.)
There is risk in petitioning and then also attempting win the 30 percent or more of delegates needed at the state convention to get on the primary ballot. Even with a successful petition, a candidate who tries and fails to gain the support of 10 percent of delegates at the state assembly is disqualified.