- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

DENVER (AP) - An exchange between Darryl Glenn and John Keyser over forged voter signatures submitted by Keyser’s campaign highlighted a Republican U.S. Senate debate over who should take on incumbent Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet in November. Here’s a look at key moments in the debate, which was hosted by The Denver Post:


The former state representative said Tuesday he won’t quit his campaign if it were to be found that his campaign didn’t collect enough voter signatures to qualify for the June 28 primary. A judge has ordered Keyser’s name on the ballot, but he’s been beset by questions over reports that some signatures were forged by a subcontractor.

“I will not drop out of the race,” Keyser said in response to a question from Glenn, an El Paso County commissioner who is the only candidate voted to the primary by delegates at the state GOP convention.

Keyser didn’t say when he became aware of a handful of fraudulent signatures submitted by a collector who, according to Colorado’s secretary of state, also turned in the signature of a dead voter.

“That employee apparently broke the law and that’s a sin,” he said. But he also said the news media were too focused on his petition problems, which have overshadowed the race.


Both Keyser and businessman Robert Blaha took on former Colorado State University athletic director Jack Graham over immigration and Graham’s record at CSU, respectively. Keyser, citing his credentials as an Air Force intelligence officer, said Graham didn’t understand security risks posed by illegal immigration and questioned the former Democrat’s views on abortion rights. Graham had called for getting undocumented immigrants into a work visa program and said he supports a woman’s right to choose.

Blaha noted that CSU fired Graham as athletic director and asked Graham if he would consent to release of a performance evaluation that Blaha called poor. Graham defended his record raising funds for a new stadium and overseeing the university’s sports program and said release of a politically-motivated evaluation would harm former colleagues at a school he loves dearly.


All five candidates, including Aurora businessman Ryan Frazier, distanced themselves from Trump’s early campaign promise to build a border wall to prevent “killers” and “rapists” from coming to the U.S. from Mexico. With varying degrees of enthusiasm, they said they’d stand with him on the campaign trail. “Mr. Trump will be the Republican nominee. I am a Republican. I will do anything I can to prevent Hillary Clinton from becoming the president of the United States,” Blaha said.


All opposed public funding for abortions, said they respected personal decisions about it, and alluded to the importance of keeping a GOP Senate majority in place to help confirm a U.S. Supreme Court justice after Antonin Scalia’s death. Graham said he supports a woman’s right to choose, Keyser said he opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of a woman, and Blaha said abortion policy ideally should be left to the states.


Frazier called for tax and regulatory reforms to free businesses to hire more and a focus on middle-class jobs. “Tens of thousands have given up looking for jobs,” he said. Glenn said Democrats talk about fairness. “What’s fair about killing coal?” he asked. Keyser said struggles with President Barack Obama’s health care reforms had “crushed” the middle class. Blaha called for a flat tax rate and, like his competitors, said the free market - not government - should determine a fair minimum wage.

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