Jack Graham Makes Primary Ballot…Barely

Collect twice the amount needed and submit them as early as possible; that's how Jack Graham made the Senate ballot.

Collect twice the amount needed and submit them as early as possible; that’s how Jack Graham made the Senate ballot.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced today that Republican Senate candidate Jack Graham is the first of four GOP Senate candidates to make it onto the June 28th ballot. But if Graham’s low validity rate is any indication of things to come, there may be some serious sweating’ happening at the campaign headquarters of Robert Blaha, Jon Keyser, and Ryan Frazier. 

The validity rate is the percent of signatures submitted that are from actual registered Republicans in the relevant districts; Graham submitted 22,786 signatures to the SOS office on March 28, and a whopping 9,895 were deemed invalid signatures (if you’re doing the math at home, that’s a “validity rate” of about 56.6%). A total of 10,500 valid signatures are needed to qualify for the U.S. Senate ballot (1,500 from each congressional district), and there’s no way that Graham could have made the cut had his campaign not submitted twice as many signatures as needed.

We wrote a few weeks back about how the petition process could get messy for Republican Senate candidates, and Graham’s low “validity rate” does not bode well for the other three candidates — all of whom used paid signature gatherers to some extent.

From a post on April 7:

Because he was the first one through the door, Graham will be the first GOP candidate to have his petition signatures verified by the Secretary of State’s office. Once a signature is confirmed as valid, that name cannot be counted again for another candidate. Keyser’s campaign will thus need 1,500 valid signatures (per district) that have not already been submitted by Graham. Blaha will need 1,500 signatures that have not already been submitted by Graham AND Keyser. You can see how this becomes a problem for Frazier; as the last candidate to submit petitions, there are at least 4,500 registered Republican voters in each congressional district that cannot be counted toward his petition total. Frazier doesn’t just need 1,500 valid signatures from each district — he needs 1,500 different names.

For a rough analogy, consider the NFL Draft that will be held at the end of this month; if your team has the fourth selection in the draft, there are three collegiate players who will be off the board before your team gets a chance to pick a player. You cannot select a player who has already been chosen by another team, obviously, and the petition process works in a similar fashion.


Graham turned in a total of 22,786 signatures to the SOS on March 28, followed by Keyser, Blaha, and Frazier. Keyser’s campaign never disclosed how many total signatures his campaign submitted, which likely means it was not an impressive total. Both Blaha and Frazier claimed to have submitted more than 17,000 signatures. All three candidates are sweating bullets right now, hoping that they have a much better “validity rate” than Graham’s campaign.

Also today, the Secretary of State’s office announced that Adams County District Attorney Dave Young turned in enough valid signatures to make the June 28th Primary (Young was upset by Democrat Caryn Datz and did not make the ballot through the caucus process). Two Republicans also made the ballot today: Tom Lucero (HD-51) and Colleen Whitlow (HD-63).

13 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gray in Mountains says:

    Best candidate the RS have had in at least a decade. Pro choice and likes sports

    • ajb says:

      I'll bet he was really, really close in some districts, like maybe the 2nd? I'll bet you could stand all day on the Pearl Street Mall on a busy day and not get a valid signature. 

  2. Jorgensen says:

    The primary hinges on the number of candidates who qualify for the ballot – the more contenders, the better Graham's chances I think. Unlike the others, who echo the same conservative mantra, Graham espouses beliefs that appeal to traditional fiscal conservatives who would prefer not to tread the treacherous waters of social issues. Don''t have a pony in this race, but will say that Graham's message is more acceptable than the field of Republican presidential contenders – now and before the whittling.

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      Are you suggesting that a RINO might navigate between the treacherous shoals of the wing nuts in the party and actually win the nomination? Wasn't that Rudy Giuliani's strategy in '08, and George Pataki's this year?

      • Jorgensen says:

        Rudy didn’t play the game that well in 2008 – meaning he didn’t map out the states with primaries with real delegates versus caucuses like Colorado. And Rudy’s campaign floundered. What I am saying – is exactly how I put it. There are still Republicans in the GOP who will vote for him – and some who are so disenfranchised they became unaffiliated but are now changing back to the affiliate to vote for Graham because he gives hope to saving the GOP from suicide. Get it? Yeah, you do.

    • Hellwig says:

      "Traditional fiscal conservatives" who like blowing millions on a stadium "stimulus package" nobody wanted.

      He's not a Republican, he's not even a California Republican, he isn't a Democrat either, he's a self-described European 'socialist' in the body of a Peter Fonda stunt double with a mullet.

      • Jorgensen says:

        And you are what? A Nazi? I doubt it with your photo and keen interest in a damn stadium. And you wish you were the Peter Fonda double in Easy Rider or maybe you were. Still blowing something other than hankie under your nose? Get real.

        • Hellwig says:

          I'm not knocking Easy Rider, or even Peter Fonda, I'm just saying this guy doesn't appeal to anything other than Dick Wadhams' wallet.

          The general consensus is that Bennet is a watered-down Democrat, but Graham isn't even a watered-down Republican.  Instead he is a soft spoken relatively position-less moderate with a vocal affinity for quasi-socialist Nordic governments.

          Which doesn't make him a bad guy, it just makes him unelectable to everybody but the people who are already voting for Bennet.

          • Jorgensen says:

            Thanks for your input – I  read carefully. As for Dick Wadhams, if I were running for office, he's my main man. As for the comments about Graham as a "watered-down Republican" I view that as a more sensitive and civilized Republican candidate, a person who would be as welcome as fresh air after all of the stale ugliness in this campaign season. I don't get your Nordic reference – my ancestors were Nordic, so excuse me for living, breathing, thinking and creating — just my nature. I don't know who you support in this race – Bennet or some unnamed Republican – but I do know it isn't Graham. I just applaud a new face in the race like Graham just as I did Glenn… now we'll see who else emerges. And if you notice, I haven't dissed Sen. Bennet or embraced him. That's the future – our decisions, right?

  3. ohwilleke says:

    A two way GOP Senate primary would be pretty interesting.

    • cpolind says:

      I'm beginning to think this could be a real scenario. If Jack Graham had 22,000 signatures, and he wound up with only 13,000 or so valid signatures, it seems to me that anywhere between 12,000 or 17,000 signatures requires a "validity rate" of at the very least 60%. The percentage of valid sigs required goes up as the numbers of valid sigs goes down. Take away the extra 2500 valid signatures Graham has that are also exclusively his, and throw in the fact that the petitioners seemed to all be congregated in the same spot, and it makes you wonder if this will indeed wind up being a two man race.


      As an independent, I like Graham's more moderate positions on social issues than I do the more traditional R stances on certain things.

      • FrankUnderwood says:

        Yes but the only way Graham has a chance is if there are at least three batshit crazy right wingers trying to out do one another and he runs to the center-left (or what passes as center-left…..think John Kasich) of the party.

        He cannot possibly win one-on-one with Daryl Glenn.

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