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CAMPAIGN PRESS RELEASE – Nationally connected executive, Barry Farah, jumps into the Colorado Governor’s Race, asserting his path to victory and stunning competitors

March 27, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nationally connected executive, Barry Farah, jumps into the Colorado Governor’s Race, asserting his path to victory and stunning competitors

(COLORADO SPRINGS)–With two conservative Republican primary candidates recently dropping out, business and nonprofit executive, Barry Farah entered the Colorado race for Governor on March 24 with a flurry of grassroots appeal through conservative talk radio interviews, TV, online and print media.

Barry Farah explains why he jumped in stating, “I am the only genuine conservative Republican in the race, and I believe I have the most credible chance of winning in the general election.”

Farah continues, “I am the only candidate capable of winning the three groups of voters required to win in November. I can win the pragmatic businessperson, the political middle, as well as ignite the base that is motivated by faith and principle. I am already vigorously supported by those fed up with establishment Republicans.”

“But that’s not all,” asserts Farah. “As an executive in the business and non-profit worlds for over 30 years, I believe I’ve demonstrated my capability to get things done in a fair, honest and collaborative way, which is appealing to independent voters.  My regular speeches around the state on how the founding principles of freedom are to everyone’s benefit have won both the hearts and minds of members of Rotary clubs and Republican clubs alike.”

Farah’s local and national connections also set him apart. Farah’s universe of friendships includes the Republican Governors Association and its Governors, senior White House staff, as well as key leaders within the Freedom Partners Seminar Network and Americans for Prosperity, where his wife serves as deputy state director in Colorado.  (She recently took a leave of absence to join the campaign).

Farah’s campaign team consists of a former head of the RGA and Red Mavericks Media – the team that is responsible for the Republican Governor of Maryland’s victory – and the strongest local campaign team of any among the candidates in the race, including former Colorado Political Director for the Trump campaign, Jefferson Thomas.

To access the ballot, Farah needs to come out of the Republican State Assembly on April 14 with at least 30% of the delegate vote.

The Denver Post: New candidate enters GOP race for governor as another prepares $1 million TV ad blitz Republican businessman Barry Farah announced Wednesday that he is mounting an eleventh-hour campaign for governor, saying in an interview that “there’s no excitement for anyone in the race.”

ABC Channel 7, The Denver Channel: Colorado Springs businessman enters the race for Governor

Colorado Politics: Republican businessman Barry Farah launches 11th-hour bid for Colorado governor “Looking at the field, I didn’t feel like there was a representative who was truly conservative that can have a credible chance of winning in the general election,” [Farah] said in an interview before his announcement.

Click here for more media coverage of Barry Farah’s entrance into the Colorado Governor’s race.

For media inquiries, please contact Tamra Farah at tamra@barryforgovernor.com or 719-291-5588.

Barry Farah is a Republican candidate for Colorado Governor.  For more information, visit barryforgovernor.com and @barryforgov on Twitter.

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Barry Farah

Colorado Springs businessman Barry Farah launches 11th-hour bid for Colorado governor – Colorado Springs Gazette

Barry’s hometown publication, the Gazette, publishes Barry’s campaign announcement – Link here! —

Colorado Springs businessman Barry Farah launches 11th-hour bid for Colorado governor

March 21, 2018 Updated: March 22, 2018 at 10:56 am

 
Colorado Springs businessman Barry Farah is jumping in the crowded Republican primary for governor Wednesday, barely three weeks before the GOP state assembly, saying he wants to “reform the state of Colorado’s government to have a more humble view of itself.”
Farah, 56, told Colorado Politics he decided to mount a last-minute campaign for the nomination after two other Republicans — former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and District Attorney George Brauchler — dropped from the field, believing their absence creates an opening for a candidate who can excite the party’s base. “Looking at the field, I didn’t feel like there was a representative who was truly conservative that can have a credible chance of winning in the general election,” he said in an interview before his announcement.

“Between the two of them, they represent a combination of my views — a true conservative, along with a law-and-order, someone who has a real love for the people of Colorado. When the two of them dropped out, I felt it seems like a good strategy to go to the assembly and lay it before the people of Colorado, let them decide.” Farah, who got his pilot’s license when he was 16, spoke with Colorado Politics about his impending candidacy while flying his Cessna Conquest II twin turboprop aircraft from Centennial Airport to Central Colorado Regional Airport in Buena Vista and back, including a stop for an interview in the mountain town. He said he plans to campaign around the state in the plane, which he flies at least once a week and refers to as the equivalent of a pickup truck, only airborne. His chief rival at the assembly is likely to be Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who rebooted her campaign this week by hiring a slew of veteran strategists and consultants. When she first ran four years ago, Coffman rocketed out of the state assembly and went on to win more votes statewide than any other Republican that year, but her moderate views on social issues, including abortion and LGBT rights, have drawn criticism from the GOP’s hard-liners, who could account for the bulk of delegates to the April 14 assembly.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Barry Farah pilots his Cessna Conquest II airplane through some light turbulence on the approach to Centennial Airport after flying to Buena Vista on Saturday, March 17, 2018, to discuss his impending campaign. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)
Republican gubernatorial candidate Barry Farah pilots his Cessna Conquest II airplane through some light turbulence on the approach to Centennial Airport after flying to Buena Vista on Saturday, March 17, 2018, to discuss his impending campaign. (Ernest Luning, Colorado Politics) 

It’ll take the support of 30 percent of the roughly 4,200 delegates to land a spot on the June 26 primary ballot. Others pursuing the nomination through the caucus and assembly process include former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez, former Trump campaign organizer Steve Barlock and Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter III. Three other Republicans — State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, entrepreneur and former state lawmaker Victor Mitchell, and businessman Doug Robinson — are pursuing the nomination by petition, which requires submitting 10,500 valid signatures. The deadline to turn in petitions was Tuesday, and state officials have until April 27 to validate them. While he wouldn’t say how much of his own money he plans to spend in a primary that’s already among Colorado’s most expensive — Mitchell, who gave his campaign $3 million at the outset of his run, on Tuesday announced a TV and radio ad buy topping $1 million, while an independent expenditure committee backing Stapleton raised nearly $1 million by the end of the last reporting period — Farah said he expects to keep up. “I’ll fund some, but I’m not going to fund all of it,” he said. “I’ll be more aggressive about fundraising if I’m on the ballot. I do think I have a lot of support. I might not get parity with the highest numbers, but I believe I’ll be competitive, and I’ll have enough to make the case.” The founder and chief executive of a data analytics company and author of bestselling books about the customer experience, Farah said his background makes him the best qualified Republican in the field to run the state. “I’ve been an executive for 30 years,” he said. “I’ve been the boss, the CEO or chairman of half a dozen companies and half a dozen ministries — three international and three local. I’m good at running meetings, I’m good at getting an agenda accomplished, and I’m good at working with people that don’t agree with me. I’ve had to do that all my life. I can get through an agenda efficiently and effectively. I’m fair about it, I’m honest about it, I’m collaborative, but I’m also a strong leader.” He’s been starting companies since he was a kid growing up in Oklahoma, including one that provided information and accounting services for businesses and a high-tech company that landed a billion-dollar contract to upgrade NORAD’s satellite radar system. After selling that company to the contractors who developed the Hubble Telescope program, Farah built extended-stay hotels in North Dakota at the height of that state’s oil boom. He was also a founder of The Classical Academy in Colorado Springs, the largest charter school in the state. “I can come at fixing the roads, and I can come at reforming PERA and getting some things done in the state that combine my business skills, my dispute-resolution skills, all of the things I’ve done in ministry, to be able to win, actually moving forward with some things that have been stalled for years,” he said.

As an example, Farah cited the approach he would take to resolving the state’s transportation funding impasse. “These are our roads. We know they need to be fixed. We know there are some things that could be done right now that would be beneficial to all Coloradans. We have solutions that have been developed by intelligent transportation engineers. There’s nothing particularly novel in what we need to do — we just need to move forward,” he said. “We haven’t gotten it done because we haven’t led from the bully pulpit of governor. I would lead so it makes it more difficult for the Legislature to stall. That can be done without raising taxes — we’ve got $300-600 million that can be bonded — and we can fix the roads. This is one example of a thing that government should do, even if you’re like me, as a conservative, government should do this.” Other priorities he pointed to include rooting out government waste, increasing school choice — “because choice breeds a comparative advantage , regardless if it’s in a marketplace or education” — and bringing an end to so-called sanctuary cities. “I would be using the levers a governor does have to cooperate with federal authorities to stop the sanctuary cities,” Farah said. “The reason is public safety. You have a police officer who is being incentivized to not cooperate with ICE. It’s dangerous, it’s a slap in the face to law and order, and I would be opposed to it, and I would be as aggressive as I can be to stop sanctuary cities.” He suggested that framing the argument the right way would show the “ridiculous absurdness of violating federal law.” Farah said he’s confident there’s a path for an outspoken conservative to “run the table” — win at assembly, win the primary and vie for Colorado’s nearly evenly divided electorate. “I think people want someone they can trust. I’m genuine, I’m honest about what I believe in. Those guys are interested in being able to travel safely from point A to point B. I’m going to fix the roads, I’m not going to just talk about it. Those folks are interested in being sure the government isn’t micro-managing their lives. I’m interested in throttling back government in places where it’s maybe over-reached. I don’t think that’s a negative thing for voters all the way left of center,” he said. “It’s partly my approach, my demeanor, my angle on it — I’m not an angry person,” he said. “I love people, and I care about people, and I really, truly want the best for them. It’s my view that, over time, that will resonate with them and that, in the privacy of being able to fill in your vote in your home, even if you’re slightly left of center, they’ll say, ‘You know what, I don’t mind having Barry handling the emergencies in the state, I think he’ll do that in an honorable way, and I think I can trust him.’ That’s my hope, because I concede, it’s a tough sled, but I believe it’s possible.” He’s the first major-party gubernatorial candidate hailing from El Paso County since the-state Sen. Mike Bird ran in 1994 and real estate developer Steve Schuck ran in 1986. Both Republicans lost in the primary. Before that, Republican John Love, a Colorado Springs attorney, was elected governor in 1962 and served until 1973, when he resigned to take an appointment as President Nixon’s energy czar. Farah has hired Jefferson Thomas, the Trump campaign’s political director in Colorado and a former political director for the state GOP, as his campaign manager. Farah’s wife, Tamra, is taking a leave of absence from her job as deputy state director of Americans for Prosperity to work as his communications director.

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What will Farah’s last-second inclusion do to Colorado’s governor race? – Denverite

Denverite’s write-up with analysis from Dick Wadhams – Link here!

What will Farah’s last-second inclusion do to Colorado’s governor race?

Update, March 23 4:15 p.m.: Colorado Secretary of State communications director Lynn Bartels told Denverite that Farah filed his candidacy paperwork today.


Republican Colorado businessman Barry Farah announced he was joining the state’s gubernatorial race this week after speculation last fall about his potential candidacy, but he’s likely a long-shot to appear in this summer’s primary ballot.

While Farah has a candidacy website up and running, Colorado Secretary of State communications director Lynn Bartels said in an email this week that he has yet to file paperwork for the run. Bartels said he has 10 days after announcing to file.

Political consultant and former Colorado Republican party chairman Dick Wadhams said Friday that Farah is a successful businessman who is well-known among Republican circles. As Wadhams points out, Farah is hardly the first “successful businessman” to be in the race (fellow Republican hopefuls Victor Mitchell and Doug Robinson tout a similar background).

With Farah’s entry, the Republican gubernatorial pool of most prominent candidates is up to five. It includes Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Mitchell, Robinson and Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton.

Wadhams said he can’t think of any candidate who entered this late and ended up a nominee.

“I wouldn’t call his entry cataclysmic,” Wadhams said. “He doesn’t clear the field, he doesn’t cause anyone to leave the field. (Walker) Stapleton remains the nominal frontrunner.”

Farah crashing the party this late may speak more to how open the race is than Farah’s potential.

“It shows too the kind of wide open nature of the Republican primary race. It shows that this is still a really wide open race, there are no dominant candidates in the race,” Wadhams said.

Farah is an outdoorsman with a businessman’s mindset focused on individual liberties.

Farah’s campaign published an introduction video on YouTube on Tuesday, which was the last day for major party candidates to submit nomination petitions to appear in the June primaries. A message requesting an interview sent to Farah’s campaign info email was not immediately returned.

“I’m running for governor to serve you,” Farah says in the 30-second video.

A longer video posted on his site expands on his motivation for running while providing  biographical information. He begins by saying he and his wife moved to Colorado two decades ago to raise their family. He also talks about a log cabin he built in Creed when he was 17 — an adventure he said helped him build “Colorado grit” and started a path that helped develop his entrepreneurial spirit.

Farah says he’s not a politician, but a leader and innovator.

“Like many Coloradans, my faith informs my decisions,” Farah says in the video. He continues: “Government should have a humble view of itself. Government should facilitate an atmosphere where doors are open, not rig them shut by an inefficient bureaucracy.”

Farah’s wife, Tamra, works for Americans for Prosperity, the political advocacy group funded by the Koch Brothers (Tamra Farah’s Twitter profile says she’s taken a leave of absence). Farah told the Colorado Independent he “might” harness the group’s influential political network for his candidacy.

Farah may cause headaches for one candidate.

The one candidate who might be raising a brow is Coffman. Farah will need to get 30 percent of delegates at the state assembly next month, which could narrow Coffman’s numbers. Prior to Farah’s entry, Coffman was the only prominent Republican taking the caucus routeto appear in June’s primary. Mitchell, Robinson and Stapleton are all petitioning to appear in the primary.

“If he is able to beat Attorney General Coffman at assembly, it’s a huge step,” Wadhams said. “It would really propel his candidacy in the race.”

The challenge for Farah: he now has a few months to meet delegates Coffman has already familiarized herself with. Time is on her side. And Wadhams said he doesn’t see a scenario where Coffman fails to make the primary ballot.

“Even if she makes the ballot, if she can win top line that’s a big victory for her,” Wadhams said. “It would give her momentum, like it gave Cary Kennedy momentum when she finished first in the caucus.”

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Colorado governor candidates: Who is running for Colorado governor in 2018? – Denver Post

The Denver Post updated its article on the race for governor – Link here!

Who is running for governor of Colorado in 2018?

There are more than 10 Democrats and Republicans in the race to become Colorado’s next governor

We’re less than a year out from Colorado’s 2018 election for governor, the race is heating up.

Political strategists in both parties already expect the 2018 contest to replace term-limited Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper will shatter state spending records, and plenty of candidates have thrown their hat into the ring. Fueling this belief is the entry of uber-wealthy candidates who could take advantage of Colorado’s campaign rules to overwhelm the opposition with money from their own pockets.

And there is a long list of issues at play.

Here’s who is running, who is on the fence and who is out (as of March 20, 2018):

 

Republicans

Steve Barlock

Barlock is an American-flag-shirt-wearing co-chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Colorado. He’s a Denver resident who sells real estate and art and didn’t register as a Republican until fall 2015. He said he plans to tackle the “swamp” of the state’s politics.

Cynthia Coffman

Cynthia Coffman, Colorado’s first-term attorney general, joined the race for governor on Nov. 8 following a long period of speculation about whether or not she would get in on the contest.  In announcing her gubernatorial bid, Coffman — who has taken moderate stances on issues like immigration and LGBT rights — told The Denver Post that “there’s always room for a smart woman,” and that she’s not worried about the fundraising advantages held by her GOP competitors because she feels she has the best name ID of the group.

Barry Farah

The GOP businessman launched an 11th-hour bid for the governor’s mansion on March 21, saying in an interview that “there’s no excitement for anyone in the race.”

Lew Gaiter

Gaiter is a Larimer County commissioner who told The Loveland Reporter-Heraldthat the governor’s office appeals to him because it has little public fanfare and a focus on the behind-the-scenes work. Much of Gaiter’s plans center on bridging the gap between the urban and rural counties of the state.

Greg Lopez

Lopez is the former mayor of Parker who also served as the Colorado state director of the Small Business Administration from 2008 to 2014 and was a longtime member of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. If elected, he would be the first Hispanic governor in state history.

Victor Mitchell

Mitchell is a former state lawmaker and businessman who became the first notable Republican to jump into the race. He has pledged to inject $3 million of his own money into his campaign and is emphasizing his career as an entrepreneur who turned around failing businesses as his qualifications for the job.

Doug Robinson

Robinson is a former investment banker and the nephew of Mitt Romney. He is a first-time candidate who is touting himself as an outsider in an increasingly crowded field of current and former elected officials.

Walker Stapleton

Stapleton, a Republican and Colorado’s two-term treasurer, officially jumped into the governor’s race — as expected — on Sept. 23. Stapleton is term-limited in his current job and has ties to the Bush family. An independent expenditure committee in his support began raising money months before he officially joined the contest.

RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

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Cary Kennedy, former Colorado State Treasurer as well as a former Deputy Mayor and Chief Financial Officer of Denver, is a candidate for Governor of Colorado in the 2018 election on Sept. 21, 2017 in Denver.

Democrats

Mike Johnston

Johnston is a former state senator who is promising to provide two years of debt-free college or job training to residents who serve the state. He reported raising more than $625,000 for his gubernatorial campaign to open the year — a sum his campaign touted as a record haul.

Cary Kennedy

Kennedy is the state’s former treasurer who announced her candidacy for the 2018 contest while driving her car home from her daughter’s school and broadcast it live on Facebook. She has won a statewide election before and is emphasizing her prior experience in office — and as Denver’s chief financial officer — as her qualifications for the job.

Donna Lynne

Lynne — a Democrat — is Colorado’s lieutenant governor and a former health care executive who said last year she wouldn’t be running for governor of Colorado. Nevertheless, Lynne said over the summer that she was considering a run for the job and then filed the necessary paperwork on Aug. 1 to campaign and raise money. On Sept. 7, she formally jumped into the race.

Jared Polis

Polis holds the 2nd Congressional District’s seat and is a wealthy tech entrepreneurwho has long been involved in Colorado politics. He is running on a platform of getting Colorado to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, ensuring parents can access full-day preschool or kindergarten, and encouraging companies in the state to provide stock options to employees. His inclusion in the race tests how far to the left the state has shifted in the past decade.

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

 

Who is out?

George Brauchler

Brauchler, the 18th Judicial District’s attorney, was running for Colorado governor until Nov. 13 when he jumped into the contest for attorney general.

Noel Ginsburg

Ginsburg, a Colorado businessman who was appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to lead the Business Experiential Learning Commission, bowed out of the Democratic primary March 20, citing financial pressures.

Ed Perlmutter

Perlmutter, a longtime Democratic fixture in Colorado politics and the congressman for the 7th Congressional District, formally exited the race for governor July 11. He cited the shooting of U.S. House colleague Steve Scalise as his reason for leaving the race, and also said he realized he didn’t have the “fire in the belly” to meet the demands of the campaign. Perlmutter also said he wouldn’t be running for re-election to Congress, but in late August reversed that decision.

Kent Thiry

Thiry is the celebrity CEO of DaVita Inc. who has a cheerleader’s disposition and a love of “The Three Musketeers.” He said he was seriously considering jumping into the race as a Republican until telling The Denver Post politics team on July 24 that he wasn’t going to run. Had Thiry joined the race, it would have meant a huge influx of cash into the already-high-dollar contest.

Ken Salazar

The Colorado Democrat and former U.S. senator announced in March that he wouldn’t be jumping in the race. He served four years in the U.S. Senate and served as U.S. secretary of the Interior from 2009 to 2013 in the Obama administration. He said in a Denver Post commentary about his decision not to run that “this has been a difficult decision, because I love Colorado. However, my family’s well-being must come first.”

Tom Tancredo

The former congressman said in late August that he was considering a run for Colorado governor in 2018 in a move he hoped was a shot across the bow at the Republican Party. In the fleeting days of October, after meeting with former White House strategist Stephen Bannon, he officially jumped into the race. Tancredo, a conservative firebrand who is an ally of Donald Trump, lost bids for the job in 2010 and 2014. Then, in a major twist, he left the race on Jan. 30, 2018.

Who else has registered?

William “Bill” Hammons, of the Unity Party

Adam Garrity, a Democrat

Moses Humes, a Democrat

Véronique Bellamy, of the Green Party

JoAnne Silva, a Republican

Michael Willbourn, unaffiliated

George Cantrell, of the American Constitution Party

Matthew Wood, unaffiliated

Jim Rundberg, a Republican

Korey Starkey, unaffiliated

Michael Schroeder, a Democrat

Kathleen Cunningham, unaffiliated

Richard Osada, a Democrat

Erik Underwood, a Democrat


This is a developing story and will be updated. 

Barry Farah

New candidate enters GOP race for governor as another prepares $1 million TV ad blitz – Denver Post

Denver Post’s John Frank reports on Barry’s announcement.  Link here!

New candidate enters GOP race for governor as another prepares $1 million TV ad blitz

Republican businessman Barry Farah announced Wednesday that he is mounting an eleventh-hour campaign for governor, saying in an interview that “there’s no excitement for anyone in the race.”

Farah, 56, must qualify for the ballot through at the Republican Party’s state assembly April 14 because he entered the race a day after the deadline to submit petitions. He dismissed his late entry into a crowded primary race, saying, “I don’t think it’s fatal.”

His top competition in the Republican assembly is Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, whose moderate stances on litmus-test issues may irk the conservative loyalists that typically attend.

“I have not seen a genuine conservative that has a credible chance of winning in November being represented at the assembly,” Farah told The Denver Post in an interview before his announcement.

“Conservatives don’t really want a non-conservative to win — that’s not accomplishing anything,” he added, referring to Coffman. “So that doesn’t make sense. And the rest of the field at the assembly doesn’t seem to really be gaining any traction.”

Coffman won the assembly vote for attorney general in 2014 and recently added a campaign team of veteran operatives, including Elaine Brofford and David Tschetter. A handful of other lesser-known candidates also will compete at the assembly.

To get their name on the ballot, the Republican candidates must win 30 percent of the estimated 4,200 delegates at the party assembly.

Other prominent contenders, including state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, businessman Doug Robinson and former state Rep. Victor Mitchell, are seeking to make the ballot by submitting 10,500 valid voter signatures to qualify.

Mitchell, an entrepreneur who put $3 million from his own pocket into his campaign, entered the race more than a year ago. And he was set to debut the first TV ad in the Republican primary Wednesday in a 30-second spot that casts him as “an outsider businessman.”

The ad is part of a $1 million TV and radio campaign in the 45 days, his campaign announced.

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Farah, a wealthy businessman who is the chairman of a data analytics company, did not say how much of his own money he would put into the race but suggested other candidates’ spending on TV “is getting a little out of hand.”

The top three issues he identified for his race is cracking down on so-called sanctuary cities, improving the state’s roads and supporting more educational choices for students. But he offered few specifics on how he would achieve them.

He hired Jefferson Thomas, the political director for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Colorado, as his campaign manager. Farah’s wife, Tamra, will take a leave of absence from Americans for Prosperity in Colorado to serve as his communications director. He hired Red Maverick Media based in Washington, D.C., as his campaign consultants.

CoPol

Republican businessman Barry Farah launches 11th-hour bid for Colorado governor – Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics’s Ernest Luning reports on Barry’s announcement – Link here!

Republican businessman Barry Farah launches 11th-hour bid for Colorado governor

Colorado Springs businessman Barry Farah is jumping in the crowded Republican primary for governor Wednesday, barely three weeks before the GOP state assembly, saying he wants to “reform the state of Colorado’s government to have a more humble view of itself.”

Farah, 56, told Colorado Politics he decided to mount a last-minute campaign for the nomination after two other Republicans — former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and District Attorney George Brauchler — dropped from the field, believing their absence creates an opening for a candidate who can excite the party’s base.

“Looking at the field, I didn’t feel like there was a representative who was truly conservative that can have a credible chance of winning in the general election,” he said in an interview before his announcement.

“Between the two of them, they represent a combination of my views — a true conservative, along with a law-and-order, someone who has a real love for the people of Colorado. When the two of them dropped out, I felt it seems like a good strategy to go to the assembly and lay it before the people of Colorado, let them decide.”

Farah, who got his pilot’s license when he was 16, spoke with Colorado Politics about his impending candidacy while flying his Cessna Conquest II twin turboprop aircraft from Centennial Airport to Central Colorado Regional Airport in Buena Vista and back, including a stop for an interview in the mountain town. He said he plans to campaign around the state in the plane, which he flies at least once a week and refers to as the equivalent of a pickup truck, only airborne.

His chief rival at the assembly is likely to be Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who rebooted her campaign this week by hiring a slew of veteran strategists and consultants. When she first ran four years ago, Coffman rocketed out of the state assembly and went on to win more votes statewide than any other Republican that year, but her moderate views on social issues, including abortion and LGBT rights, have drawn criticism from the GOP’s hard-liners, who could account for the bulk of delegates to the April 14 assembly.

It’ll take the support of 30 percent of the roughly 4,200 delegates to land a spot on the June 26 primary ballot. Others pursuing the nomination through the caucus and assembly process include former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez, former Trump campaign organizer Steve Barlock and Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter III.

Three other Republicans — State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, entrepreneur and former state lawmaker Victor Mitchell, and businessman Doug Robinson — are pursuing the nomination by petition, which requires submitting 10,500 valid signatures. The deadline to turn in petitions was Tuesday, and state officials have until April 27 to validate them.

While he wouldn’t say how much of his own money he plans to spend in a primary that’s already among Colorado’s most expensive — Mitchell, who gave his campaign $3 million at the outset of his run, on Tuesday announced a TV and radio ad buy topping $1 million, while an independent expenditure committee backing Stapleton raised nearly $1 million by the end of the last reporting period — Farah said he expects to keep up.

“I’ll fund some, but I’m not going to fund all of it,” he said. “I’ll be more aggressive about fundraising if I’m on the ballot. I do think I have a lot of support. I might not get parity with the highest numbers, but I believe I’ll be competitive, and I’ll have enough to make the case.”

The founder and chief executive of a data analytics company and author of bestselling books about the customer experience, Farah said his background makes him the best qualified Republican in the field to run the state.

“I’ve been an executive for 30 years,” he said. “I’ve been the boss, the CEO or chairman of half a dozen companies and half a dozen ministries — three international and three local. I’m good at running meetings, I’m good at getting an agenda accomplished, and I’m good at working with people that don’t agree with me. I’ve had to do that all my life. I can get through an agenda efficiently and effectively. I’m fair about it, I’m honest about it, I’m collaborative, but I’m also a strong leader.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Barry Farah pilots his Cessna Conquest II airplane through some light turbulence on the approach to Centennial Airport after flying to Buena Vista on March 17 to discuss his impending campaign. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

He’s been starting companies since he was a kid growing up in Oklahoma, including one that provided information and accounting services for businesses and a high-tech company that landed a billion-dollar contract to upgrade NORAD’s satellite radar system. After selling that company to the contractors who developed the Hubble Telescope program, Farah built extended-stay hotels in North Dakota at the height of that state’s oil boom. He was also a founder of The Classical Academy in Colorado Springs, the largest charter school in the state.

“I can come at fixing the roads, and I can come at reforming PERA and getting some things done in the state that combine my business skills, my dispute-resolution skills, all of the things I’ve done in ministry, to be able to win, actually moving forward with some things that have been stalled for years,” he said.

As an example, Farah cited the approach he would take to resolving the state’s transportation funding impasse.

“These are our roads. We know they need to be fixed. We know there are some things that could be done right now that would be beneficial to all Coloradans. We have solutions that have been developed by intelligent transportation engineers. There’s nothing particularly novel in what we need to do — we just need to move forward,” he said.

“We haven’t gotten it done because we haven’t led from the bully pulpit of governor. I would lead so it makes it more difficult for the Legislature to stall. That can be done without raising taxes — we’ve got $300-600 million that can be bonded — and we can fix the roads. This is one example of a thing that government should do, even if you’re like me, as a conservative, government should do this.”

Other priorities he pointed to include rooting out government waste, increasing school choice — “because choice breeds a comparative advantage , regardless if it’s in a marketplace or education” — and bringing an end to so-called sanctuary cities.

“I would be using the levers a governor does have to cooperate with federal authorities to stop the sanctuary cities,” Farah said. “The reason is public safety. You have a police officer who is being incentivized to not cooperate with ICE. It’s dangerous, it’s a slap in the face to law and order, and I would be opposed to it, and I would be as aggressive as I can be to stop sanctuary cities.” He suggested that framing the argument the right way would show the “ridiculous absurdness of violating federal law.”

Farah said he’s confident there’s a path for an outspoken conservative to “run the table” — win at assembly, win the primary and vie for Colorado’s nearly evenly divided electorate.

“I think people want someone they can trust. I’m genuine, I’m honest about what I believe in. Those guys are interested in being able to travel safely from point A to point B. I’m going to fix the roads, I’m not going to just talk about it. Those folks are interested in being sure the government isn’t micro-managing their lives. I’m interested in throttling back government in places where it’s maybe over-reached. I don’t think that’s a negative thing for voters all the way left of center,” he said.

“It’s partly my approach, my demeanor, my angle on it — I’m not an angry person,” he said. “I love people, and I care about people, and I really, truly want the best for them. It’s my view that, over time, that will resonate with them and that, in the privacy of being able to fill in your vote in your home, even if you’re slightly left of center, they’ll say, ‘You know what, I don’t mind having Barry handling the emergencies in the state, I think he’ll do that in an honorable way, and I think I can trust him.’ That’s my hope, because I concede, it’s a tough sled, but I believe it’s possible.”

He’s the first major-party gubernatorial candidate hailing from El Paso County since the-state Sen. Mike Bird ran in 1994 and real estate developer Steve Schuck ran in 1986. Both Republicans lost in the primary. Before that, Republican John Love, a Colorado Springs attorney, was elected governor in 1962 and served until 1973, when he resigned to take an appointment as President Nixon’s energy czar.

Farah has hired Jefferson Thomas, the Trump campaign’s political director in Colorado and a former political director for the state GOP, as his campaign manager. Farah’s wife, Tamra, is taking a leave of absence from her job as deputy state director of Americans for Prosperity to work as his communications director.

Colo Independent

Republican Barry Farah gets in the governor’s race late – Colorado Independent

Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins reports on Barry’s announcement.  Link here!

 

Republican Barry Farah gets in the governor’s race late.  Now, about that Koch connection…

Barry Farah, the latest entry into a crowded Colorado governor’s race comes with some connections to the world of the wealthy industrialist Koch brothers. Whether they will make a difference or mean much in the race is another story.

The self-made businessman and author who flies his own plane and has a background in tech companies and commercial development has flirted with a campaign for months. He says he decided to make a bid because he hasn’t yet seen Republicans united and excited around a true conservative in the broad GOP primary— a weakness in the field he thinks he can exploit with a three-week blitz before the April 14 GOP state assembly in Boulder.

Some Republicans, however, are questioning how anyone in his position could make a serious impact in the race this late in the game. But Farah hints at his associations with the big-money Koch network through his donations to Koch-backed groups, including its prime political nonprofit, Americans For Prosperity, where his wife has worked. And he might even have a secret plan he’s not yet willing to reveal.

“It is a matter of public record that I previously donated to Freedom Partners and donated to Americans for Prosperity and that my wife was very actively working for them until she just took a leave of absence,” Farah said.

His wife is Tamra Farah, who has for years been a high-profile spokeswoman for AFP in Colorado and is well known in conservative politics. She is now working on his campaign.

Asked about whether he would be able to harness the political powers of the Koch network in his race for governor, Farah hinted that he might. “I can tell you I have lots of friends in those arenas,” he said, adding that his connections to that world “could be a substantial help.” The campaign, he said, is “happy with our friendships there.”

An ability to harness Koch-network support in this year’s governor’s race— tacitly or explicitly— certainly wouldn’t be something to sneeze at.

That’s why Jesse Mallory, who runs the Colorado operation of Americans for Prosperity, says he started fielding calls yesterday from people who heard Farah was poised to announce a run. They wanted to know Mallory’s perspective on the latest news. Mallory told them all the same thing: AFP Colorado is focused on the state legislature, and “we have no plans to involve ourselves in the gubernatorial primary.”

As for Farah himself, asked on the day he announced if his entrance should send any signal to other Republican candidates for governor who might have hoped for help from the Koch network, he said he didn’t want to “go down that path,” adding, “We’ll just see how everything works out.”

While other candidates have been crisscrossing Colorado for the better part of a year, Farah held out and decided to get in after high-profile District Attorney George Brauchler and immigration firebrand Tom Tancredo dropped out— and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, whom he has financially supported in the past, jumped in the race in November.

Still, what his entrance means in the context of this primary is, for some, a head-scratcher.

“Everyone in Colorado politics is trying to wrap their heads around Barry’s motive,” says Ryan Lynch, the former director of the Colorado Republican Party and a political strategist who is not working on a gubernatorial campaign. “This isn’t a Bob Beauprez 2014 scenario where he has to come in and save the party from the clutches of Tom Tancredo.” Lynch added that if he could speak in emojis, “it would be the eyeroll emoji,” when asked about his reaction to the latest twist in an already raucous primary that saw two one-time front-runners drop out.

There will be at least four other Republicans campaigning at next month’s state assembly, including Coffman, who is the most well known. Another three have gathered petitions to try and get directly on the June 26 ballot. They include State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, an establishment favorite, ex-lawmaker Victor Mitchell, who is spending $3 million of his own money, and retired investment banker Doug Robinson, a first-time candidate with backing from Mitt Romney.

Steve House, the former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, says while data he’s seen on the race shows Stapleton leading with Coffman just behind him, nearly 40 percent of Republican primary voters are still undecided. He thinks the more choices voters have the better, so he welcomes another hat in the ring.

“The race is really anybody’s to win,” he said.

Farah’s 11th-hour bid does do one thing: It sets up a state assembly showdown with Coffman and the handful of lesser-known candidates who will vie for the votes of Colorado’s 4,200 GOP delegates. Candidates need to get 30 percent of the vote to make the June ballot, which means only three could emerge in the most balanced— but most unlikely— scenario.

How Farah will try to stand out in that crowd, though, remains to be seen.

“When my message gets out and I communicate what I’m about, I think that ignites those who are true faith-and-freedom-oriented conservatives,” he told The Colorado Independent in an interview.

He declined to make direct comparisons between himself and the others in the race. On specific policy he said he would crack down on sanctuary cities, something about which other candidates often bring up on the stump. He said he would tackle the state’s transportation issues— another top campaign platform issue among his rivals— by making it more of a priority in the state budget and finding more money for it by rooting out government waste.

Recent Colorado state assemblies have vaunted lesser-known underdogs into top positions. In 2016, a little-known county commissioner named Darryl Glenn stunned political observers when he took 70 percent of the vote in a wide primary for U.S. Senate, knocking out six of his rivals after a barn-burner speech.

As for what exactly Farah plans to do in the next three weeks to jockey to the front of a pack of more prominent candidates, he was coy.

“We feel real confident about our strategy but I’m not sure I’m going to reveal all of our strategy,” he said. “I can tell you this, we have one and we’re going to implement it and we think it will put us in a strong position to do very, very well.”

The factor that drew immediate attention when Farah announced his run for governor, however, is his proximity to AFP. The limited government group is a national political juggernaut that has adeptly synthesized big money with on-the-ground activism. It has a major presence in Colorado.

Related: Colorado is in Americans for Prosperity’s ‘persuasion universe’

Americans for Prosperity started out in 2004 as the prime tax-exempt nonprofit arm of the Koch brothers and a network of like-minded, conservative donors, many of whom are unknown, and as a social welfare group, or 501 (c)(4), AFP’s tax-exempt status means it “must operate primarily to further the common good and general welfare of the people of the community.”

In recent years the group has been flexing its political muscle in Colorado’s battleground elections and at the state Capitol. It typically gets involved in issues by promoting limited government, fighting taxes and defending the budget-limiting Taxpayers Bill of Rights.

Sometimes the group gets involved in elections, and Colorado has been ground zero in those efforts.

In 2016, for instance, Colorado was the only state where AFP got directly involved in a congressional election by advocating for a candidate’s defeat. AFP president Tim Phillips personally knocked on doors in the district represented by GOP congressman Mike Coffman during the election. The only time AFP had done something similar was in 2014 against Democrat Mark Udall who was running for the U.S. Senate in Colorado. In both instances the Democrat lost.

So far, at least one Republican Farah will face at the state assembly next month is using the Koch connection to lob some bombs.

Steve Barlock, who was the Denver co-chair of Donald Trump’s campaign and is running as a hardline Trumpist in the race, often notes how Stapleton is a cousin to George W. Bush and that Robinson is a nephew of Mitt Romney. With Farah’s entrance, he has added a new line to this campaign talking point.

“With the Romneys we don’t want to be Utah East, with the Bushes we don’t want to be Texas North, and now with Barry we don’t want to be West Kansas,” Barlock said, a reference to David and Charles Koch being from Wichita. “We want to be Colorado.”

Other campaigns, however, downplayed the association.

Robinson’s spokeswoman Brett Maney said she doesn’t take Farah’s bid as a sign of anything larger than another candidate with political connections trying to capitalize on a wildcard primary that doesn’t yet have a clear frontrunner. “I personally don’t view it as AFP really putting something down,” she said, adding that the group would likely be happy with any of the leading Republicans running.

Roger Hudson, who leads the communications efforts for the Coffman campaign, dismissed Farah as “just another wealthy consultant with too much time on his hands who apparently can’t decide whether he wants to run for governor or not.” Farah’s campaign countered that he comes from humble beginnings.

Stapleton’s campaign manager, Michael Fortney, said he didn’t care to comment at all about the latest Republican entry into the race.

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