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What to Watch in Colorado: Will Tancredo Win His Primary?

In Colorado’s primary on Tuesday, the political spotlight falls on one race -- the four Republicans vying for the opportunity to unseat Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

That GOP quartet: Secretary of State Scott Gessler, former state Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp, former U.S. Rep. and 2006 GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez and former U.S. Representative and 2008 presidential candidate Tom Tancredo, who was also the Constitution Party’s nominee for the governor’s office in the 2010 race.

This year, Tancredo and Beauprez are considered the frontrunners.

Behind closed doors, several Republican groups have spent the past few weeks actively trying to help the more moderate Beauprez. Tancredo’s hardline, lone-wolf approach to politics -- including his opposition to immigration reform -- could hurt him and his party in a state where one in five residents is Hispanic.

Hickenlooper’s job approval ratings and considerable war chest make him the early favorite in the November general election. But last week, the former Denver mayor faced substantial political blowback when he appeared to regret gun-control legislation he signed into law in 2013.

One factor that might turn the whole GOP gubernatorial primary race in Colorado upside down on Tuesday, analysts say, is the large number of unaffiliated voters in the state. In Colorado, those voters can sign up for and vote in a party’s primary on Election Day. In the state’s “sleepy” primary system, ballots were mailed out weeks ago.

Final polling places close at 9:00 p.m. ET.