In an extremely unexpected development over the weekend, delegates to Colorado's Republican convention overwhelmingly gave their backing to El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, making him the only candidate to win a slot on the June 28 primary ballot without needing to file signatures. Glenn had raised all of $40,000 for his Senate bid, but observers credit his rousing speech for the surprise victory. ("All lives matter," declared Glenn, who is African-American.)
Several other contenders had also eschewed the petition route and placed their fate in delegates, but Glenn took 70 percent of the vote and no one else came close to the 30 percent threshold to automatically make it to the primary. As a result, state Sen. Tim Neville, El Paso County Commissioner Peg Littleton, businessman Jerry Natividad and a couple of Some Dudes all saw their campaigns come to an end on Saturday. Neville's collapse is particularly shocking, given his strong support from social conservatives and gun groups.
But a GOP primary still looks very likely, since four candidates chose to bypass the convention and submit signatures: former Colorado State University athletic director Jack Graham, ex-state Rep. Jon Keyser, wealthy businessman Robert Blaha, and former Aurora City Councilor Ryan Frazier. The secretary of state's office has until April 29 to verify these petitions, though, so it's possible that some of these hopefuls won't make it on to the ballot, but some will.
Whatever the final field looks like, though, the Democrat these Republicans are all hoping to unseat, Sen. Michael Bennet, is in solid shape. While no one running has yet to release first-quarter fundraising totals, Bennet has a very healthy $6.7 million in the bank, far more than anyone else. Money of course is never the only metric that counts in politics, but the Republican field is far from intimidating, which is borne out by the fact that a single speech from an unknown and underfunded candidate could upend the race so easily. Daily Kos Elections currently rates this contest Lean Democratic.