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DENVER - Former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez has won the Republican primary election for Colorado governor, besting three other candidates for the chance to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Beauprez defeated another former congressman, Tom Tancredo, Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former state Sen. Mike Kopp on Tuesday's primary.

During his victory speech Tuesday night, Beauprez renewed his promise to freeze "all non-essential regulations," on his first day in office.

"The real opponent in this was Hickenlooper. Colorado can do better, and we're going to get better," Beauprez told the crowd gathered to hear his victory speech at the Denver Athletic Club.

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.

Bob Beauprez wins Colorado governor GOP primary. 9NEWS at 9 p.m. 06/24/14.

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.

Tancredo, who for a long time was a front runner in the race, came in second. Tuesday night he appeared comfortable not to be the nominee, throwing his support behind Beauprez.

"He's got the experience I think that he can tout in terms of leadership and executive experience," Tancredo said. "If I can't do it, he's the guy."

Current Secretary of State Scott Gessler could never emerge from the middle of the pack during the race. He chose to give up his current job as Secretary of State to make a run for the governor's office, a decision he says he doesn't regret.

"I say the cause that this is about is worthy of the sacrifice," Gessler said after giving his concession speech at a bar near the Pepsi Center.

"It's been an honor to serve as secretary of state. I think it's more important though that we take back the governor's mansion."
Gessler also threw his support behind Beauprez.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)

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