GOP state treasurer candidate Brian Watson hauls in more than $200,000 for quarter, plans to petition on ballot

Republican state treasurer candidate Brian Watson plans to report raising roughly $215,000 for the quarter just ended, his first in the race — almost precisely the amount reported so far by all the other candidates running in both parties’ crowded primaries — and plans to petition his way onto the June primary ballot, Colorado Politics has learned.

Watson received contributions from nearly 500 donors, and 90 percent of them live in Colorado, his campaign said. He plans to report having about $155,000 cash on hand at the end of the quarter, which finished Dec. 31.

“We wanted to kick off 2018 by coming out the gates early, the first to release the numbers from our starting, partial quarter in the treasurer’s race. I’m thrilled with the outpouring of energy and support from friends, family, and voters all through Colorado,” Watson said in a statement.

“We’re just getting warmed up and couldn’t be more grateful. We look forward to another active and disciplined quarter, spent personally talking to tens of thousands of primary voters and solidifying our spot on the primary ballot.”

Watson, a one-time legislative candidate and the founder and CEO of a commercial real estate firm, is one of six Republicans running for the seat held by term-limited State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, who is seeking the GOP nomination for governor. Four Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination.

Watson told Colorado Politics he plans to try to get on the primary ballot via petition.

Calling himself a “big supporter of the caucus process,” he said, “I’m friends with countless regular attendees and delegates. I also recognize that it’s a crowded, competitive primary field, and I want to spend our time talking to as many primary voters as possible, which the petition process allows for. We’ll continue to engage closely with our friends and delegates throughout it all.”

Statewide candidates can reach the June 26 primary ballot by turning in 10,500 signatures from fellow party members — 1,500 from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts. They can start circulating petitions Jan. 16 and have until March 20 to turn them in.

Statewide candidates seeking the ballot through the caucus and assembly process must get the support of at least 30 percent of delegates at state assembly, scheduled for April 14 by both major parties. The process kicks off March 6 at neighborhood precinct caucuses.

Unaffiliated voters will be able to vote in either of the two major parties’ primaries this year for the first time.

Reports covering the 4th Quarter are due to the Colorado secretary of state’s office by Jan. 15. Watson’s full report wasn’t available, and none of the other candidates have yet to file theirs. Watson entered the race on Oct. 20 — leaving him just over two months of the quarter to put together his initial fundraising haul.

The other Republicans running for state treasurer are state Sen. Kevin Lundberg of Berthoud; state Reps. Polly Lawrence of Roxborough Park and Justin Everett of Littleton; Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn; and 14th Judicial District Attorney Brett Barkey. The Democrats in the race include state Reps. Dave Young of Greeley and Steve Lebsock of Thornton, political newcomer Bernard Douthit and Charles Quin Sheibe, the state’s chief financial officer.