BREAKING: Jon Keyser Fails to Make Primary Ballot

UPDATE #3: The clock is ticking for Keyser to make this challenge. The deadline for the Secretary of State to finalize the Primary ballot is April 29th:

Last day for the Secretary of State to deliver the Primary Election ballot order and content to county clerks. (No later than 60 days before the Primary Election)


UPDATE #2: The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews:

Keyser fell short by 86 votes in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, according to Colorado’s Secretary of State, which verifies the signatures. The district is represented by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, and has 145,778 registered Republicans to 124,007 Democrats.

Keyser’s campaign is expected to appeal the decision and has five days to do so. The 16,067 signatures he submitted overall allowed him to clear the threshold in the six other districts…

If Keyser’s challenge is unsuccessful, his bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., will end weeks before a single vote is cast in the June 28 primary — throwing an already chaotic race for Senate into further disarray.

Liberal group ProgressNow Colorado says it’s time for “Liar Keyser” to hang it up:

“We wouldn’t put anything past Jon Keyser, including dishonesty,” said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. “This is the same Jon Keyser who claimed as a House candidate that he had received ‘two ballots’ for an election, when the truth is Keyser was lying–and he knew it the whole time. Keyser can’t blame our Republican Secretary of State for his own incompetence. It’s time for Keyser to do what he seems to have the most trouble doing: play by the rules, and respect our election system even when it doesn’t go his way.”

“Jon Keyser is the biggest nothingburger in Colorado politics, and it’s time to throw in the towel,” said Franklin. “Keyser promised to clear the field with his Washington, D.C. insider support, but he could barely raise enough money to keep the lights on. Now we learn his pay-to-play petition campaign also came up short?”

“In hindsight, Jon Keyser should have held on to his House seat,” said Franklin. “Keyser has a long way to go before he’s ready for prime time.”


Jon Keyser will have plenty of time to spend with his young family now that he's no longer a Senate candidate.

Jon Keyser will have plenty of time to spend with his young family now that he’s no longer a Senate candidate.

UPDATE: Keyser campaign says they will challenge, but this is a complete disaster regardless. Keyser came up 86 signatures shy in CD-3, and just barely got enough signatures in CD-1 (Denver) to get over the 1,500 threshold (he made it in CD-1 by just 20 signatures).


Just in from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office:

Former state Rep. Jon Keyser’s petition to appear on the Republican primary ballot for U.S. Senate has been declared insufficient, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced today.

Keyser was required to gather 1,500 valid signatures from Republican voters in each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts for a total of 10,500 signatures. He came up 86 signatures short in Congressional District 3.

Keyser submitted 16,067 petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s office, which began a line-by-line review of the signatures. Of that 11,436 were deemed valid.

His campaign has five days to protest the decision.

We had a feeling this might happen after Republican Jack Graham made the ballot last week with a meager 56.6% “validity rate” on his signatures. Keyser’s campaign never did release a number on how many total signatures they collected — every other GOP candidate made sure to reveal a rough number when they first submitted signatures prior to the April 4th deadline. With four candidates competing to collect 1,500 signatures from each of seven congressional districts, there was always a strong possibility that at least one Republican would fail to qualify for the ballot.

Keyser can certainly challenge this decision, but as we wrote over the weekend, the former half-term state representative had an awful fundraising quarter and his campaign is running on fumes already.

Keyser’s campaign has been a raging dumpster fire since the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) first started flirting with the idea of making him their top recruit back in December. Perhaps it’s better that everyone just cut their losses on Keyser now.


36 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Pseudonymous says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! (repeat).

    Of course they’ll protest, so I may be premature, but the sentiment’s right.

  2. davebarnes says:

    86 is a large number on a percentage basis.

  3. If Keyser remains off the ballot, are his valid signatures still invalid for the next candidate down the list?

    • Colorado Pols says:

      Good question. We've never received a good answer on that.

      • I can imagine some upset candidates further down the line who lost 1400-1800 potential signatures per district without actually seeing a candidate on the ballot for the effort if so.

      • OrangeFree says:

        I believe they go in the same "no longer count" bucket as the signatures were still verified/counted, he just didn't have enough of them.

      • Pseudonymous says:

        The law seems pretty clear.  The only reason for the processing "order" is that the second time the SOS finds a signature is when it's discovered to be invalid.  In theory, I guess you could disqualify them from all petitions, even the ones that have already been certified, but that would disenfranchise those voters completely, which seems a bit harsher than just disqualifying subsequent signatures on petitions after the first they’re found on.

        1-4-904. Signatures on the petitions
        (1) Every petition shall be signed only by eligible electors.
        (2) (a) For petitions to nominate candidates from a major political party in a partisan election, each signer shall be affiliated with the major political party named in the petition and shall state the following to the circulator: That the signer has been affiliated with the major political party named in the petition for at least twenty-nine days as shown on the registration books of the county clerk and recorder; and that the signer has not signed any other petition for any other candidate for the same office. [emphasis mine]

        • Voyageur says:

          Seems fairly clear, but I could ask whether signing two invalidates:

          1-the second signed if the date of signature can be ascertained,

          2-the second petition based upon when they are turned in (which appears to be the present practice

          3–Both signatures based upon language that just bans "signing any other petition for the same office," without specifying which of the rival signatures is invalid.   Dorwe have case law on the subject,  (see Dufuss vs. Dullard)

          • Pseudonymous says:

            For clarity, I'll offer the Secretary of State's Rule 15 which describes the process the office uses to verify petitions.

            15.1.3(d): Secretary of State or DEO staff will reject the entry if:


            (12) For a candidate petition where an elector may sign only one petition for the same office, the entry is a duplicate of a previously accepted entry on a previously filed petition for the same office.

          • Colorado Pols says:

            From what we understand, voters are not precluded from signing multiple petitions — it's not their responsibility to know the law. 

        • Jorgensen says:

          This might be why Graham's campaign was much smarter in launching their petition drive earlier. It also could be an example of hiring paid petition collectors who are compensated by the number of signatures. Those collectors don't give a happy high flying damn about whether the petition signers have already signed another petition. Why should the signer or collector care? Few paid petition collectors follow the rules.

  4. Keyser's campaign did significantly better than did Graham's on signature validity – 71% vs 57%. But that doesn't help when you're underwhelming in your signature collection overall. In addition to failing to meet the goal in CD-3, he squeaked by in CD-1 (1520), and wasn't very far above threshold in either CD-5 or CD-6 (1576 and 1575, respectively).

    Not the sign of a winning campaign; the NRSC stepped in way too soon.

  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    Barbie Ken Jon says, "Math Counting is hard!" …

    (… oh please, please, please dear dog, let it be Moderatus that was somehow in charge of submitting signatures!!!)


  6. FYI, here's the Statement of Insufficiency (PDF) for those who want to see the numbers.

  7. Republican 36 says:

    Regarding Update #3: April 29th is the deadline for the Secretary of State to finalize the primary ballot but C.R.S. 1-1-113 allows Mr. Keyser to file a petition in Denver District Court challenging the Secretary's statement of insufficiency within five days. If the district court upholds the Secretary, Mr. Keyser may file a petition with the Colorado Supreme Court within three days after the district court issues its decision. The Supreme Court has the discretion to hear the case or refuse to hear it. Regardless of the deadline on the 29th, Keyser will be given his day in court.

    • Hellwig says:

      Only if a judge stops the printing of the ballot to protect mootness, otherwise the law needs to be followed.

      That said, even if Keyser gets a stay, then there is an argument to invalidate him under the Equal Protection Clause a la Bush v. Gore.

    • For safety's sake, Keyser would want to file the challenge, along with an emergency stay, before the 29th.

      I'm assuming that in cases like this the campaign gets a list of the failed signature lines so they can dig in quickly to see what chances they might have?

      • Hellwig says:

        It’s my understanding that they already did that, that was the curing period before they announced the results.

        Right now they know they have real names collected by non-Republican gatherers which is a violation of the laws dictating which petitions are valid – I doubt any judge is going to side with Keyser or try to strike out election law.

  8. Voyageur says:

    But am I right that there is no "cure period" for him to scrounge more sigs?

    • Colorado Pols says:

      Yes, V, you are probably correct here. There's no second chance.

    • That's correct – no cure period for petitioning on to the ballot for candidates. You get the job done or you don't, one shot.

    • Hellwig says:

      The cure period is before the SOS announces the results publicly.

      Blaha and Frazier are likely going through curing now.

      • I think what V is referring to is the cure period offered for initiatives where the supporters can get more signatures if they're deemed to have fallen short. That doesn't exist for candidates.

        • Pseudonymous says:

          Actually, and I think weirdly, that's not quite true.  Well, it is for the purpose of this discussion, but not for (U) candidates.  Why that is, I have no idea.

          In case a petition for nominating an unaffiliated candidate is not sufficient, it may be amended once no later than 3 p.m. on the eighty-fifth day before the general election or 3 p.m. on the sixty-seventh day before an election that is not being held concurrently with the general election. If a petition for nominating an unaffiliated candidate is amended, the designated election official shall notify the candidate of whether the petition is sufficient or insufficient no later than the seventy-fifth day before the general election.

          • Difference between primary and general elections, then – and between qualifying party candidates, who are automatically on the ballot, and unaffiliated candidates, who have to petition on. Good to know, in case we ever have the need to discuss it.

  9. DaftPunk says:

    Darryl Glenn is looking tan, rested, and ready! 

  10. Hellwig says:

    He went on 86 capture-sign missions, but no matter how many doors he kicked in he just couldn't find Republicans who wanted him on the ballot.

  11. FrankUnderwood says:

    Another one bites the dust……

    First, Gessler doesn't become Governor. Then Marco Rubio craters. And now this. Another one of Moderatus' Golden Boys bombs out….


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