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Beauprez files to run for governor; GOP field for Gardner’s seat blows up

Former Congressman Bob Beauprez talks to reporters Monday about Colorado's bid

Former Congressman Bob Beauprez

DENVER — After one of the wildest weeks in Colorado politics in some time, another week started with even more campaign season announcements and rumors running rampant.

Here’s a quick update:

Former Congressman Bob Beauprez, after leading a committee presenting Denver’s bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention in Washington, DC Monday afternoon, electronically filed to launch a campaign for governor, just as FOX31 Denver first reported he would do last week.

Beauprez is set to appear on 850 KOA radio at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday to talk for the first time about getting into the race.

Unlike Congressman Cory Gardner, whose surprise announcement of a U.S. Senate run last week all but cleared the primary field of would-be GOP rivals, Beauprez isn’t likely to clear the gubernatorial primary field, at least not for a few weeks.

If support and resources coalesce around the former congressman, it’s possible other candidates could then get in line behind him.

More Republicans jumping into race for Gardner’s seat

Meanwhile, Gardner’s announcement has a growing group of Republicans salivating over his soon-to-be open congressional seat, a safe GOP seat if there ever was one.

Ken Buck, who had been running for U.S. Senate, announced he and Gardner had agreed basically to swap races moments after Gardner made his announcement last Wednesday.

But other northern Colorado Republicans aren’t about to step aside for the Weld County District Attorney, who lost a very winnable U.S. Senate race to Sen. Michael Bennet in 2010 after a series of careless statements.

State Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, announced last week that he, too, is running for the Fourth Congressional District seat.

Steve Laffey, who ran for governor of Rhode Island a few years ago and was a gubernatorial candidate for a few days last year, sent out a press release Monday that he’s jumping into the race for Gardner’s seat.

And Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer announced Monday that she’s going to run, the Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels was first to report.

State Rep. Tim Dore, R-Elizabeth, confirmed Monday that he was still thinking about a run; and Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, is rumored to be weighing a campaign in the Fourth C.D., which now includes a good chunk of his home turf in Douglas County, although another GOP lawmaker in the House told FOX31 Denver Monday that a McNulty run was doubtful.

And former state Rep. B.J. Nikkel, R-Loveland, is also still weighing a bid.

Nikkel, who in 2012 was the first Republican lawmaker to vote in favor of a civil unions bill, would be able to self-fund a campaign in the early stages; and, as a woman who is politically moderate, she might draw financial support from national GOP organizations and committees.

But her relatively moderate voting record could be too conservative for the district, which includes all of the state’s eastern plains and most of the counties that voted last fall on whether or not to secede from the state.