DENVER ó First came word that the running mate picked by GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez had compared same-sex marriage to bestiality. Then Beauprez apologized for overstating the abortion rate among blacks.
Since late August, it has been one problem after another for Beauprez, a congressman from the Denver suburbs who was once considered the front-runner in the race to succeed outgoing Republican Gov. Bill Owens.
Instead, he is in a dogfight with Democrat Bill Ritter, a former Denver district attorney who has tried to shed his big-city image by visiting the stateís 64 counties.
Some Republicans are jittery about the race, and some worry the problems dogging Beauprez are indications of a deeper rift in the party stemming from a battle last year over tax breaks.
The latest figures show Beauprez trailing Ritter in fundraising and in the polls. For the period ending Sept. 13, Ritter reported raising $197,000 to Beauprezís $99,000.
ďI think Republicans are concerned, obviously. Yes, the campaign has made missteps, but those missteps donít have to be terminal. Itís not over yetĒ said GOP political analyst Katy Atkinson of Denver.
Beauprez has been dogged for months about his opposition to Referendum C, a 2005 ballot measure in which voters agreed to give up $5 billion in tax refunds over the next five years to shore up the state budget. The plan was backed by Owens and many businesses, a key GOP constituency.
Beauprez said he has met with Republicans who backed the plan to air their differences.