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Walker Stapleton says he wants his name removed from primary ballot

Walker Stapleton submitted a letter to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office asking to be disqualified from the gubernatorial primary ballot.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton has asked to be taken off the primary ballot for Governor.

This doesn't mean he's dropping out of the race for Governor.

He's not.

He's going to attempt to qualify for the ballot at the state Republican convention this weekend.

In a quickly announced news conference Tuesday morning, Stapleton revealed that he has concerns about the firm his campaign hired to collect signatures that allowed him to qualify for the primary ballot.

Stapleton needed to collect 1,500 valid signatures from registered Republicans from each of the state's seven Congressional Districts to have enough to qualify for the ballot.

Last Friday, the Secretary of State's Office certified that Stapleton met that threshold.

On Tuesday morning, Stapleton said that the company he hired to collect those signatures, Kennedy Enterprises, lied about one of people the firm hired to collect signatures.

"The signature gathering firm we retained to conduct and manage our petition gathering process, engaged in fraudulent conduct when gathering signatures in support of my candidacy for Governor," Stapleton wrote in a letter to the Secretary of State asking to withdraw the petitions that were already certified.

At the same time Stapleton was doing this, a Denver District Judge was hearing arguments in a challenge of signatures collected by the same firm for the candidacy of Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado.

Lamborn, a six-term Congressman representing southern Colorado's Fifth Congressional District, qualified for the ballot by collecting 1,000 valid signatures of registered Republicans in his district.

The Secretary of State's Office validated 1,269 signatures for Lamborn.

Five voters in his district are suing, saying that seven of the signature collectors are not valid Colorado residents and don't meet the states requirements for collecting signatures.

To collect signatures in Colorado, a person must be registered to vote in Colorado, sign an affidavit with the same address that they're registered to vote and be the same party as the person for whom they're collecting signatures.

Six of those signature collectors also turned in signatures for Stapleton's campaign.

Before Tuesday morning's court hearing about Lamborn's signatures, Stapleton's campaign filed a motion to intervene in the case and to dismiss the case, even though they weren't involved.

Just as the hearing began on Tuesday, Stapleton's campaign attorney, Chris Murray, asked the judge to withdraw their motion to intervene, thus backing out of the case they weren't involved with in the first place.

Ninety minutes later, Stapleton announced he was withdrawing his petitions that were already certified and instead seeking a place on the primary ballot through the assembly process.

While that was happening, Lamborn's campaign was still fighting in court to keep his signatures valid. The signature collector that Stapleton's campaign said Kennedy Enterprises lied about has not been named as a signature collector for Lamborn.

RELATED | Walker Stapleton intervenes in a lawsuit meant to keep Doug Lamborn off the ballot