The Colorado Statesman reported Tuesday that Jane Norton, once considered a shoo-in for the GOP Senate nomination in Colorado, has decided to petition her way onto the ballot in after losing the in the party caucuses to right-wing challenger Ken Buck.
A source from a company that collects signatures for candidates in Colorado told the Statesman that the Norton campaign "appeared receptive" to the firm's proposal to run run a petition drive.
Norton, widely considered to be the favorite of "establishment" Republicans, lost the GOP party caucuses to conservative rival Ken Buck by a fraction of a percentage, with both candidates receiving roughly 37% of delegates. Republicans have been selecting delegates for the May 22 State Convention, at which point the party will decide the order in which candidates will be listed on the ballot for the August primaries.
In order for the a candidate to make the ballot in August, they must receive the support of 30% of delegates at the state convention. As the Statesman points out, "an insurgent wing of the Republican Party [presumably Buck supporters] has packed assemblies," calling into question whether she will make the ballot via the traditional route.
In order to make the ballot by petition, Norton must gather 1,500 signatures from each of Colorado's 7 congressional districts.
Per the rules established by Colorado Republican Chairman Dick Wadhams, Norton will no longer be able to participate at all in county assemblies
In a statement issued Thursday, Norton's campaign tried to make incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet the focus of the decision. Bennet, who will continue to take part in the Democratic Party's state convention, announced on April 2 that he would also launch a petition drive.
"We cannot afford to give the appointed Senator [Bennet] a two-month head start," the campaign said. "The next six weeks are far too important to spend campaigning solely to a small bloc of voters."
Read the Norton Campaign's announcement below:Norton Petition Announcement