DENVER — Colorado gubernatorial hopeful Danielle Neuschwanger will run as a third party candidate after failing to qualify for the Republican ballot.
9NEWS has learned Neuschwanger will instead run as a member of the American Constitution Party.
Neuschwanger fell short of the 30% support needed to make the Republican ballot at the state assembly earlier this month, ending up with 27% of the vote. She claimed delegates were having trouble with the electronic clickers that were used to count votes, and threatened legal action against Colorado Republican Party chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown for not addressing the matter.
The move pits Neuschwanger against Democratic incumbent Jared Polis and the winner of the Republican nomination, which will be either Heidi Ganahl or Greg Lopez.
Ganahl addressed Neuschwanger's change in party affiliation in a radio interview with KNUS's Randy Corporon Saturday. “I believe Danielle believes in the principles that we hold and that we share and I hope that she’ll join us in our effort to take back our state to beat Jared Polis," she said. "And running on a third party isn’t going to help that.”
In a text message to 9NEWS, Neuschwanger responded, "The America first Patriots are tired of elitist politicians controlling the narrative with fear mongering. I welcome Heidi or Polis to debate me any time or place to show who is the best choice for Colorado. I encourage the voters to get behind the best candidate and leave party loyalty in the dust."
In a statement, a spokesperson for the state's Republican party expressed no concern over Neuschwanger's candidacy. “Our state is more expensive and less safe under the failed leadership of Jared Polis," it reads. "We plan to replace him in November with a Republican Governor. We aren’t concerned about the numerous possible 3rd party candidates, all of whom have less than 1% name ID. Republicans will be united behind our nominee.”
In 2010, former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo entered the gubernatorial race as an American Constitution Party candidate after longshot Dan Maes defeated GOP favorite Scott McInnis in the primary amid McInnis' plagiarism scandal. Tancredo received more than three times as many votes as Maes with 36% of the ballots, but Democrat John Hickenlooper won the general election with 51%.
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