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Democratic former Denver state Sen. Mike Johnston, who grew up in Vail and graduated from Vail Mountain School, on Friday became the first candidate for Colorado governor to successfully petition his way onto the June primary ballot.
Johnston is just the third candidate overall to be notified by Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams that he has successfully petitioned onto the primary ballot, which will be decided in June. Johnston joins Democrat Zach Neumann in state Senate District 32 and Republican Darryl Glenn in U.S. House District 5.
In preference polling during the March 6 Democratic caucus, Johnston — who focused more on an all-volunteer petition push — garnered 9 percent of the vote compared to 33 percent for U.S. Rep. Jared Polis and 50 percent for former treasurer Cary Kennedy.
In February, Johnston set the record for the fastest gubernatorial campaign to turn in petitions and the most signatures gathered (more than 22,000) without using a paid vendor. Johnston’s campaign noted Friday that while it does not need to caucus in order to earn a place on the ballot, Johnston “will still attend a number of county assemblies in the coming weeks in order to connect in person with the thousands of faithful Democratic voters who are participating in the caucus and assembly process.”
The Eagle County Democratic Party Assembly is set for 9 a.m. to noon at Battle Mountain High School in Edwards.
“Thanks to the tireless efforts of our campaign staff and a massive team of volunteers, we are now one step closer to bringing our vision for the future of Colorado to life,” Johnston said in a prepared statement on Friday. “Together, we can get big things done for this great state, and it all starts with getting on the ballot.”
Here’s the press release from SOS Williams’ office:
Democrat Mike Johnston makes primary ballot
DENVER, March 16, 2018 — Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced today that former state Sen. Mike Johnston of Denver, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor, has successfully petitioned onto the ballot.
Johnston on Feb. 21 became the first gubernatorial candidate to turn in petitions to the Secretary of State’s office for review. As a statewide candidate, he was required to gather 1,500 valid signatures from Democratic voters in each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts for a total of 10,500 signatures.
He submitted 22,585 signatures and 12,698 were deemed valid. The signature breakdown in each congressional district is included in the attachment below.
Colorado law now allows petitioners a chance to “cure” non-matching signatures and other technical problems, such as the wrong date on a circulator affidavit. That gives candidates the ability to fix issues without having to go to court. Previously judges had much more leeway to accept signatures that the Secretary of State’s office had to reject by law, leading to legal challenges.
Johnston, who is the third candidate to be notified he has successfully petitioned onto the ballot, could have attempted to cure 649 signatures that didn’t match those on file with the state. He declined because he already had enough to make the ballot.
Other gubernatorial candidates who have turned in signatures are Republicans Walker Stapleton and Victor Mitchell, and Democrat Jared Polis.
The petition process, which requires collecting valid voter signatures from a certain amount of members of your own party, is one way to get on the June 26 primary ballot. The other is going through the assembly, a process that began with precinct caucuses on March 6.