DENVER – Two Republican candidates vying for a shot at Colorado's open Senate seat negotiated a settlement Saturday that puts both men on the primary ballot after complaints over voting at the state GOP convention.
The discrepancy temporarily brought the convention to a halt and party officials admitted they had no way to determine the exact number of valid ballots cast.
Schaffer received 61 percent of the vote, while Coors got 39 percent. Under their agreement, Schaffer's name will be listed first on the Aug. 10 primary ballot, and Coors will follow.
"Sometimes there is just a right way to resolve issues that requires statesmanlike leadership. Today was one of those days," Schaffer said.
The two candidates shuttled back and forth behind the stage for an hour, trying to work out a compromise.
Republican Party chairman Ted Halaby said the mix up occurred when alternates went to pick up their ballots to replace delegates who did not show up.
Since many delegates had already left the convention center and there was no way to hold another election, the two camps came up with their own solution, according to GOP officials.
The race is being watched nationally because it could help decide control of the Senate, where Republicans hold a 51-48 majority with one Democratic-leaning independent.
The seat became open when GOP Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (search), who was considered a lock for re-election, abruptly announced his retirement earlier this year, citing health concerns.
Coors, who has been criticized for never holding an elected office, said his family supported Ronald Reagan when he ran for governor. He urged delegates to pray for Reagan, who died later in the day.
"Some believe Ronald Reagan should not have run for office because he had never run before, he had never been elected," Coors said. "There came a time when he was no longer willing to stand on the sidelines, and today, neither am I."