DENVER
06/14/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dick Wadhams Calls Norton's Decision To Skip County Assembly 'A Mistake'

Colorado Senate candidate Jane Norton's decision to bypass the Republican Party Caucuses and petition her way onto the ballot in August is not sitting well with the state's Republican brass.

In an interview with the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, an incredulous Colorado GOP chair Dick Wadhams said "It is a mistake for any candidate to turn their back on this process and those important activists. Ken Buck's been given a tremendous advantage by this decision."

Wadhams can not officially announced support a Republican candidate before one is chosen in August, but many on the party's right have speculated that he favors Norton, the former Lieutenant Governor who is widely considered to be the favorite of "insiders."

Norton's opponent, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, narrowly defeated Norton in the party caucuses in March when each candidate received roughly 37% of the delegates at stake. Buck, who has received endorsements from tea party groups and other conservative organizations, has been riding a wave of momentum from the caucuses, and is expected to outperform his March numbers.

In order for a candidate's name to appear on the ballot, they must receive at least 30% support at the state convention on May 22 or petition their way on by gathering 1,500 signatures from each of the state's 7 congressional districts. Per Republican Party rules, candidates cannot petition their way onto the ballot and participate in the county assemblies.

Norton, however, insists her decision to petition onto the ballot is an effort to keep pace with incumbent Michael Bennet, who earlier announced that he is also petitioning onto the ballot. Her campaign has vehemently denied that they are nervous about potentially not making the ballot.