DENVER — Republican state Treasurer Mike Coffman dropped out of the 2006 governor’s race Friday, saying the handwriting was on the wall after Rep. Bob Beauprez expressed interest in entering the race.
“I think I would make a great governor, but frankly the timing is just not right for me to run. Rep. Bob Beauprez has earned the front-runner status on the Republican side,” Coffman said in a statement given Friday night to The Associated Press. “He has the ability and the financial resources necessary to win.”
He refused to answer any questions, saying it was a tough decision for him.
Coffman said he had a stronger track record as a fiscal conservative than Beauprez and was confident he would do well at the state convention, but he didn’t want to hurt the party with a divisive primary.
“Colorado needs a strong, conservative leader to tackle the many challenges facing this state,” Coffman said.
Beauprez’s spokesman, Sean Murphy, praised Coffman for stepping aside. Beauprez was in Iraq and unavailable for comment.
“For him to put the interests of the state and party ahead of his own is typical of Mike Coffman. Bob has an enormous amount of respect for Mike and considers him a friend. For him to defer to Bob is very humbling,” Murphy said.
The announcement came two months after Coffman formed an exploratory committee for governor, saying the state will need someone with leadership experience when GOP Gov. Bill Owens leaves office next year because of term limits.
University of Denver President Marc Holtzman has said he will seek the GOP nomination next year and former congressman Scott McInnis has been testing the waters.