LITTLETON – Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper indecisive during a rally for GOP candidates Monday, citing the governor’s decision not to execute a convicted killer.
“There’s one governor that stands out for indecisiveness,” Romney said to a raucous crowd at a high school gym in Littleton, outside Denver. The rally was to cheer on Republicans running for governor, Congress and other races, but Romney spent the majority of his speech on the deadlocked race between Hickenlooper and former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez.
“I’m afraid that the people of Colorado are going to have to do the absolute right thing and elect a person who knows what it takes to make a decision and stick by the decision and do what’s right for the people of Colorado,” Romney said.
Responding to Romney’s remarks, Hickenlooper’s campaign highlighted the state’s improving economy.
“John’s style of leadership brings unlikely partners together to find solutions, which is one of the reasons why, despite 13 federally declared natural disasters, Colorado’s unemployment rate has dropped from 9.1 percent to 5.1 percent in the last four years,” said campaign spokesman Eddie Stern. “John believes Colorado is stronger when we work together, not when we tear each other down.”
Beauprez was Romney’s co-chairman in Colorado, one of the states he lost, during his failed presidential run in 2012.
“This is a decisive man and a good man. We’ve been friends for a long time,” Romney said.
Republicans have repeatedly focused on Hickenlooper’s death penalty decision to describe him as indecisive, and the Republican Governors Association has aired television ads centering on the case. Last year, Hickenlooper angered some by granting an indefinite stay of execution to Nathan Dunlap, who was convicted for the 1993 slayings of four people at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Hickenlooper has said he doesn’t believe it’s the government’s role to take people’s lives.
The rally also featured U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, the GOP candidate running against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall. Polls have shown the governor’s race to be tied, and the Senate race is also considered close. It’s one of a handful that can determine which party controls the chamber.
Also at the rally were Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, who is running for re-election against Democrat Andrew Romanoff, and Cynthia Coffman, the GOP candidate for state attorney general.
During a brief speech, Beauprez focused on reducing government red tape, saying he would freeze all “nonessential regulation” immediately if he takes office.
“If it’s not public-safety related, we’re going to stop it in its tracks,” he said.