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 route to 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.”