Mike Johnston earns spot in gubernatorial Democratic primary

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Mike Johnston at a town hall at North High School, March 15, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; copolitics; election;

Mike Johnston at a town hall at North High School, March 15, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Democrat Mike Johnston is the first gubernatorial candidate to secure a place on his party’s primary ballot, a feat that inches him closer toward earning the Democratic nomination in the crowded governor’s race.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams made the announcement Friday in a press release, which said 12,698 of the 22,585 signatures submitted by Johnston on Feb. 21 were deemed valid. Johnston turned heads in the governor’s race last month when he became the first candidate to submit the signatures. Candidates need 1,500 valid signatures from registered party members from each of the state’s seven congressional districts (10,500 total).

Johnston issued a release shortly after the announcement was made.

“Thanks to the tireless efforts of our campaign staff and a massive team of volunteers, we are now one step closer to bringing our vision for the future of Colorado to life,” Johnston said in his release. “Together, we can get big things done for this great state, and it all starts with getting on the ballot.”

The petitioning process successfully completed by Johnston is one of two ways (and considered the more expensive route) for candidates to appear in the primaries. Candidates can also earn a spot through the assembly process, which includes caucusing.

Johnston said in his release that while he doesn’t need to caucus, he will still attend a number of county assemblies “to connect in person with the thousands of faithful Democratic voters” participating in this process.

According to the Secretary of State’s release, Colorado law would have allowed Johnston to “cure” 649 signatures that were non-matching or contained technical problems, but he declined because he already had enough to make the ballot.

Republicans Walker Stapleton and Victor Mitchell have also turned in signatures to appear in their party’s primary. U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat, turned in his signatures Wednesday.