Danielle Neuschwanger will run for governor of Colorado as a member of the American Constitution Party after failing to land on the Republican primary ballot through the assembly process earlier this month.
“Those of you who know me, from Day One — including in my campaign announcement video from a year ago — I said I was disgusted with the fact we have a radical right and the far left who pit us against each other and forget the people in the middle: the constitutional patriots who just love America,” she said at an event at the Tailgate Tavern in Parker on Saturday.
The move guarantees that Neuschwanger will be on the general election ballot against incumbent Gov. Jared Polis and whoever wins the Republican nomination, either University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl or Greg Lopez.
“Now I get to represent all Americans everywhere in Colorado, because your voice matters,” Neuschwanger said.
Neuschwanger was originally running for the Republican nomination for governor, but at the April 9 assembly she fell just short of the 30% delegate support needed to make the primary ballot. Ganahl secured about 32% of the delegate vote as well as qualifying for the ballot via petition. Lopez received about 34% of the vote.
Since then, Neuschwanger claimed that delegates told her they had trouble using the electronic voting devices. She confronted Colorado GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown over the matter after the assembly and threatened legal action.
Neuschwanger said her team gave evidence of inaccuracies from the assembly voting process to Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s office to see if there were violations of any state or federal election laws. Griswold’s office did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
“I’m not going to come up here and say the election was stolen. I’m not going to say I was cheated,” Neuschwanger told supporters. “What I am saying is that three weeks after investigative efforts, and the fact we had so many people come forward, there is reasonable suspicion to believe that the results at the state assembly are inconsistent.”
Neuschwanger’s third-party switchover will create a steeper uphill battle for any candidate to defeat Polis, a Democrat. In the 2010 governor’s race, American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo won about 37% of the vote, more than triple the votes GOP candidate Dan Maes received. Democrat John Hickenlooper won that election with about 51% of the vote.
She said she does not think her campaign move will split the vote of right-leaning Coloradans.
“That is something that is historically used for fear-mongering. When you need to put your vote behind the right person, you start looking at policies. Stop playing identity politics. Stop playing party politics,” she told Colorado Newsline.
“We need to look at who is going to be the best for the people, and I think this is the year that’s going to happen. We have more unaffiliated voters than ever before. We have people disenfranchised with both parties.”
Neuschwanger has consistently labeled herself as a constitutional conservative throughout her campaign.
During a Saturday talk radio interview with KNUS’s Randy Corporon, Ganahl said a third-party candidate will hurt the chance of getting Polis out of office.
“I believe Danielle believes in the principles that we hold and that we share and I hope that she’ll join us in our effort to take back our state to beat Jared Polis,” she said. “Running on a third party isn’t going to help that.”
Neuschwanger said she would not pardon embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters if Peters — whom a grand jury indicted on felony charges related to an election system security breach — is convicted, like Lopez promised to do recently. She said her job as governor would be to determine if the law was upheld and the justice system performed its duty, and she said Peters would still have the appeals process available to her.
Neuschwanger named Darryl Gibbs, another former Republican gubernatorial candidate, as her choice for lieutenant governor.
This article originally appeared in Colorado Newsline, which is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: [email protected] Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.