Former U.S. Congressman Bob Beauprez won Colorado’s Republican gubernatorial nomination with 31% of Republican votes. In November, Beauprez will challenge Democrat incumbent Governor John Hickenlooper to become the state’s chief executive.
How do the two candidates compare — on paper?
Born in Lafayette, Colorado on September 22, 1948, Beauprez grew up on his family’s dairy farm. He majored in physical education at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He returned to dairy farming and then purchased and managed a community bank, Bank VII (renamed Heritage Bank). His campaign website says he grew the bank’s “assets from $4 [million] to over $400 million, employees from 7 to 150, and branches from 1 to 13 in 12 years.” Beauprez was active in local grassroots politics for 30 years. He served as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party from 1999 until 2002. He was elected to Congress in 2002, serving two terms from Colorado’s Seventh Congressional District from . He “spends most of his time on the buffalo breeding ranch” with his wife and eldest son of his four children.
Born in Narberth, Pennsylvania on February 7, 1952, Colo. Governor John Hickenlooper attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut, majoring in English and earning a graduate degree in Geology. Hickenlooper was a geologist for Buckhorn Petroleum in Denver in 1981 and was laid off after five years due to economic conditions. He then created the Wynkoop Brewing Company, a microbrewery in downtown Denver, and helped start new businesses and residential projects in downtown Denver. He was elected Denver’s Mayor and served from 2003 to 2011, after which he was elected governor of Colorado. He has one son.
According to The Denver Post’s 2006 Profile of Beauprez, “In 2004, Beauprez ranked 10th among House members for funding from the oil and gas industry. He voted for Bush’s energy bill, which last year extended billions in tax breaks to oil companies at a time of record profits.” At the time, Beauprez said he was the biggest friend of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden in his district, but in 2005, “he voted… to slash more than $20 million for NREL.” He also “declined to add his name to a letter signed by 100 House members from both parties urging full funding for its researchers,” prompting environmental action group, League of Conservation Voters, to call Beauprez “one of the most anti-environmental members of Congress.”
Hickenlooper calls himself an environmentalist but has also said, “I think we should drill the living daylights out of natural gas and cut regulation.” A Fox 31 Denver article said about Hickenlooper, “while the former geologist’s support for fracing and the oil and gas industry generally has rankled environmentalists, it’s also helping Hickenlooper burnish his image as a maverick, someone who’s willing to go against the partisan grain from time to time.”
Fox 31 Denver said earlier this year that the 62-year-old Hickenlooper has good standing with both parties, since he has “sought to maintain his pro-business brand.”
Beauprez lost to Democratic candidate Bill Ritter in a bid for governor in 2006, but he said he feels more confident about this run. In reference to his recent primary win, the Denver Post called Beauprez “a more moderate mainstream pick.”
Fox News said Beauprez is in for a tough battle financially. He “raised $306,000 and loaned himself about $500,000” for the preliminaries, whereas Hickenlooper “has raised nearly $3 million for his re-election bid, already has bought $1.4 million in television advertising for the weeks leading up to the general election.”
Meanwhile two former Colorado governors, Roy Romer (D) and Bill Owens (R), have joined forces to end “oil-and-gas ballot measures that… would cripple Colorado’s economy,” according to a story in the Denver Post. Owens and Romer appear together in a pro-fracing television ad.
The idea of imposing of new oil and gas regulations has become an important issue in the state, as several initiatives make their way toward the ballot.
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