DENVER (CBS4) - Colorado's political world was surprised over the weekend when former state Sen. Mike Kopp claimed the top line of the GOP gubernatorial primary ballot.
"The top line is no guarantee of success on June 24, but the fact that Kopp was able to go from the pack of 'maybe' contenders to upsetting Secretary of State Scott Gessler, winning the top line, is indeed a significant achievement," CBS4 political contributor Dominic Dezzutti said in his blog on CBSDenver.com.
DOMINIC DEZZUTTI'S BLOG: How Will Kopp's New Momentum Affect Race For Governor?
CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd talked with Kopp about the achievement. Their conversation is as follows:
Boyd: What is going to decide the primary, because it's still Republicans versus Republicans and it's still a four-way race and four strong candidates?
Kopp: I think what Colorado Republicans are looking for is a new generation of leadership that can make the case that they have a vision to empower people and not the government.
The fact of the matter is that we've seen people on both sides of the isle for too many years growing the government, wanting more, costing more. And really what that does is it limits people's empowerment, it limits their freedoms. It takes away opportunities for them.
That's the case that I've been making, that I can get that done. It's the case that I'll continue to make … and if I'm elected as governor that will define my administration -- this fight to empower individuals and not the government.
Boyd: What do you bring to the table that your competition doesn't?
Kopp: I've had an amazing opportunity to lead in a variety of fairly complex environments. Ministry work is a pretty difficult work, but being the Senate minority leader really gave me some on-the-job training in terms of advancing a conservative agenda that is good for everybody. But in order to do that you have to have Democrats supporting you.
So somehow how Republicans, conservatives, need to still stand on your values but be able to reach across the aisle and pull other people in so that you can actually accomplish things that empower people, like driving down the cost-sized complexity of government for an example.
Boyd: If you get the nomination and the chance to run against Gov. Hickenlooper in November, what is the thing that will put you over the top?
Kopp: He's vulnerable. I think people are looking for a leader, somebody who can actually advance a case, 'That I'm helping you make your life better by getting our government out of your way.' Nobody is taking more of our opportunity to succeed in life than our own government.
People know that, they see the failures of government -- things like Obamacare, things like these excessive Second Amendment overreaches, like these big tax increases, and excessive regulation. Right here in the state of Colorado they see these things and they're costing people opportunities, and (those) are the issues I'm going to address on the campaign trail.
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