COLORADO SPRINGS – In a major upset in the Colorado Republican U.S. Senate race, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn on Saturday crushed Sen. Tim Neville, earning the party’s nod to compete in the June primary.
Glenn – who was considered an underdog in the race – took 2,664 delegate votes to Neville’s 696, making Glenn the only candidate to survive the caucus process.
Candidates needed 30 percent of the vote to make the June 28 primary ballot. Glenn earned 70 percent of the vote, to Neville’s 18 percent.
Glenn defeated five other candidates also vying for support at the Republican State Convention in Colorado Springs.
Neville was considered a candidate with enough name recognition to at least make it to the June ballot, and even give Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet a bit of a challenge.
But a fiery speech from Glenn at the convention on Saturday helped swing the race.
“There is evil ... but if you believe, like I believe, we can handle that,” Glenn addressed delegates earlier in the convention, pointing to a dysfunctional Washington, D.C.
He pointed to wanting to defund Planned Parenthood, repeal President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement, secure the nation’s borders and balance the federal budget.
Glenn, who is black, also rejected activism from black leaders in the wake of police shootings involving unarmed black men.
“All lives matter,” he said to applause.
Glenn also couldn’t resist a jab at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, stating, “I am firmly committed to removing Hillary Clinton from her pantsuit and putting her in a (prison) jumpsuit,” referring to her ongoing email scandal involving alleged classified information.
Neville hoped to ride a liberty wave to the ballot, having been a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and an advocate of limited government.
“I don’t put my trust in big government, I put my trust in you,” Neville addressed the crowd, prior to his defeat. “I know that you make the best decisions for yourself, I know you make the best decisions for your families, and I know you make the best decisions for your businesses.”
In addition to Glenn and Neville, retired Air Force Master Sgt. Charlie Ehler, Jefferson County businessman Jerry Natividad, Army veteran Jerry Eller, El Paso County Commissioner Peg Littleton and write-in candidate Erik Underwood also addressed the audience.
Four other candidates are hoping to petition onto the ballot by collecting signatures. They need 1,500 valid signatures from Republicans in each of the state’s seven congressional districts. Those petitions are still being verified by the secretary of state’s office.
Former Colorado State University athletic director Jack Graham, former state Rep. John Keyser of Morrison, Colorado Springs businessman Robert Blaha and former Aurora Councilman Ryan Frazier are all hoping to petition onto the ballot.
Whoever wins the party’s support to unseat Bennet will face a difficult battle.
The Democratic Party star once served as the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and has more than $6.7 million in the bank. He will report his first-quarter donations later this month.
Just this week, Bennet launched his first TV ad, an early sign that he has the resources to last a long fight.
“Darryl Glenn is a climate change denier who wants to defund Planned Parenthood and outlaw a woman’s right to choose,” said Chris Meagher, spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party. “Like the rest of the GOP field, he has already promised to support Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and his agenda would hurt families across Colorado.”