2 Colorado Senate candidates fail to qualify for ballot

Two more GOP Senate candidates in Colorado fell short of the required number of signatures to qualify for the party’s ballot, the secretary of State confirmed Thursday.

Businessman Robert Blaha and former Aurora city councilman Ryan Frazier could be kept off the June 28 GOP ballot in the primary to take on vulnerable Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetEagles player sits out national anthem Trump administration denied it has ‘secret’ committee seeking negative information on marijuana: report Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens MORE (D-Colo.).

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They're the third and fourth GOP hopefuls to fall victim to the process — both Jon Keyser and Tim Neville failed to hit requirements to make the ballot as well, although Keyser is appealing

State rules stipulate that candidates must garner at least 1,500 signatures from voters in each of the state’s seven congressional districts — totaling 10,500 signatures — if the candidate chooses to get on the ballot through a petition.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said Blaha submitted more than 17,000 signatures, 10,507 of which were “deemed valid,” but he was short in three congressional districts.

Williams said Frazier submitted more than 18,000 signatures, 11,108 of which are valid, but he was short in four congressional districts.

“Signatures were rejected for a variety of reasons, including the signer was not a Republican, the signer's address did not match voter registration records, duplicate signatures and notary errors,” he said.

Both campaigns have five days to appeal the decision.

This comes three days after Keyser, an establishment favorite, fell short by 86 signatures to qualify for the party's Senate primary. Keyser is an Air Force veteran and former state representative.

Keyser’s campaign has filed a lawsuit saying that Williams “wrongfully deprived” him of getting on the ballot, according to The Denver Post. A decision is expected by Friday.

Candidates had two avenues to get on the ballot: by petition or by reaching a threshold at April's state party convention. Neville, a state senator and another leading contender, failed to hit the 30 percent threshold during the convention and was kept off the ballot. Underdog Darryl Glenn was the only candidate to qualify that way.

Colorado is one of the few Republican targets this cycle as the party seeks to maintain its slim majority in the upper chamber.

Democrats need to net five Senate seats in 2016 to regain a majority — unless they retain the White House. Then a net gain of four seats would give them the majority, with the vice president breaking a 50-50 tie.

Democrats are considered to have an advantage because they are only defending 10 Senate seats, while the GOP is defending 24 seats.