DENVER -- There's dodging questions, and then there's... whatever you call this:
Jon Keyser is the Republican establishment's favored candidate to challenge Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) in the general election this fall. He's also been dogged lately by fairly well substantiated allegations of election fraud concerning falsified signatures used to get his name on the ballot (he filed suit to secure a spot on the ballot after coming up 86 signatures short).
When Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger pressed Keyser on the authenticity of some of those all-important signatures in an interview Thursday, the candidate flailed for a bit, then -- having flailed some more -- vaguely threatened Zelinger with his dog.
"What is your response to the voters who saw their names [on your petition to make the ballot] and they tell me they didn't write their names?" Zellinger asks, opening the video.
“Well, Mitchell.” Zelinger corrects him: “Marshall.”
"Marshall, here's the important thing," Keyser responds. "The important thing is I'm on the ballot."
Zelinger goes on to press Keyser on potential election fraud, before Keyser recognizes him as the same reporter who came to his door Thursday. Sensing an out, he pounces:
“Wait, were you the — hold on — were you the guy who was creeping around my house yesterday?” he asks.
“I knocked on your door,” replies Zelinger.
“Ugh,” Keyser responds, shaking his head in disgust. “You woke up my kids. Yeah, my baby cried for an hour after that.”
“I apologize,” Zelinger says.
Keyser presses further: “Did you get to meet my dog?”
“My dog is a great dog — he’s bigger than you are." Jon Keyser
“I met your dog and your nanny," says Zelinger. "She’s very kind. Your dog was kind.”
“My dog is a great dog — he’s bigger than you are," Keyser says. "He’s huge. Big guy. Very protective.”
“I don’t know what that meant," Zelinger responds, "but OK.”
Incredibly, the bizarre interview was actually an encore performance to an awkward series of questions Keyser struggled through at a debate earlier in the night, in which the moderator focused on the exact same issue.
Instead of answering the question at hand, Keyser returned time and again to the same tired phrase: "I'm on the ballot, and I'm going to beat Michael Bennet." Here's that exchange, which The Washington Post has dubbed Keyser's "Marco Rubio moment":