Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler is the latest Republican rumored to be interested in challenging Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper in 2014.
The Denver Post reports that campaign officials have said that Gessler is considering a potential run for governor in 2014 and may seek the GOP nomination.
In March, Gessler formally announced his campaign for a second term as Colorado's Secretary of State in 2014 and has begun fundraising which he could also use in a campaign for governor.
Elected in November 2010, Gessler's brief tenure as Colorado's 37th Secretary of State has been marred by partisan polarization and controversy. Gessler found himself in hot water in 2011 when he instructed county clerks not to mail ballots to registered (but inactive) citizens in their counties. Gessler was eventually sued by Denver County Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson who disagreed with Gessler's plan, but the case was ultimately dismissed.
In a letter, Democratic Reps. Robert Brady (Pennsylvania) and Charles Gonzalez (Texas) who requested a federal review of Gessler's suit believed the Secretary of State's orders were "likely to disenfranchise eligible voters and should be condemned."
In the lead up to the 2012 election, Gessler, citing possible voter fraud in the state, launched an investigation into noncitizens voting in Colorado elections and ultimately decided to back down from his controversial voter purge plan after finding only a tiny fraction of possible illegal voters that critics said was simply an attempt at "voter intimidation."
Also in 2012, ColoradoPols unearthed a video of Gessler speaking about election integrity saying the only way to know if you have a "good election" is when "Republicans win."
Gessler is currently under investigation by a state ethics group over an accusation that he used taxpayer dollars to pay for a partisan event.
An April poll by Public Policy Polling suggests if Gessler does go forward with his plan to run for governor, it would likely be an uphill battle against popular Hickenlooper.
The poll shows Hickenlooper with a 53 percent approval rating, though his disapproval rating has also spiked in recent months to 44 percent. Still, the PPP poll tested Hickenlooper's numbers against "every major GOP figure in the state," including former Congressman Tom Tancredo, Congressman Scott Tipton, Attorney General John Suthers, Congressman Cory Gardner, 2010 Senate candidate Jane Norton and State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and concluded that "not a single one of the Republicans we tested has a positive statewide favorability rating."
Against all tested, Hickenlooper leads by either 10 or 11 points -- against Gessler specifically, Hickenlooper leads 50 to 40.
Gessler is the second official to be reportedly seeking the Republican nomination for governor this week, The Denver Post reported earlier that former Congressman Tom Tancredo may also be considering running for governor, also as a Republican.