The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins posts a significant update in the Democratic gubernatorial primary–former Sen. Mike Johnston, whose campaign has been primarily bankrolled by out-of-state interests backing his controversial stands on education, is pulling out of the Democratic state assembly process:
Former State Sen. Mike Johnston today let Democratic Party officials know he won’t be in Broomfield, according to his campaign. “We are no longer planning to participate in the state assembly,” said Johnston spokeswoman Grace Hanover.
She said the campaign is reaching out to delegates who cast ballots for Johnston in the county assemblies and letting them know they should vote however they see fit…
So far, throughout the caucus-and-assembly process, Kennedy has locked up votes from more than 50 percent of delegates, according to her campaign. Polis has about 33 percent of them, his campaign says. Those are unlikely to shift to any large degree, and a small percentage of delegates will head to the assembly uncommitted.
Since March 6, Johnston has been showing up and giving speeches at county assemblies, but he hasn’t caught fire with the delegates to the extent that Kennedy and Polis have. [Pols emphasis]
Johnston has already made the June 26 Democratic primary ballot by turning in petition signatures. A fourth Democratic candidate, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, made no attempt to compete in the assembly process and is awaiting the ruling on her own petition signatures:
Democratic voters can sign petitions for as many candidates as they want, but their signature will only count for the candidate who turns their petitions in first, meaning Johnston and Polis’s signature list will count against Lynne’s.
Given the low validity rate for Johnston’s signatures and the fact that Lynne is third in line to submit, there’s a real possibility of Lynne failing to qualify for the ballot. For Johnston, failure to thrive in the Democratic caucuses helps pigeonhole him as an non-competitive candidate being propped up by special interests. It would have been smarter to not have gone the dual caucus/petition route at all, since pulling out now underscores the same point as his poor caucus performance does. But it’s too late for that.
Given Cary Kennedy’s so-far domination of the assemblies and Jared Polis’ success in taking both routes, this latest development only confirms for us the direction the race is moving. Barring something unexpected, either Kennedy or Polis will be the Democratic nominee–and most likely, the next governor of Colorado.