Despite the tangible awkwardness of the on-camera conversation, a reporter doggedly grilled a U.S. Senate candidate on Thursday about the allegedly forged signatures that got him on the Republican primary ballot in Colorado.
KMGH’s Marshall Zelinger cornered Jon Keyser after the candidate apparently evaded multiple requests for comment—including a home visit—about allegedly forged signatures on a petition for him to appear on the Republican primary ballot in June. Zelinger reported earlier this week that 10 voters whose names appeared on Keyser’s petition denied signing it.
The reporter began his interview with Keyser by introducing himself and asking what Keyser would tell the voters who said they didn’t sign his petition. Foreshadowing the hot mess to follow, Keyser first referred to Zelinger as “Mitchell.”
“It’s Marshall, that’s okay,” Zelinger interjected.
“First name? Marshall? Okay,” Keyser said. “Marshall, here’s the important thing. The important thing is that I’m on the ballot. Okay?”
Zelinger repeated his question and Keyser, in turn, blamed Democrats for attacking him on the issue. So Zelinger pressed him again.
“Well, Mitchell they told you—” Keyser said.
“Marshall,” Zelinger corrected him, again.
“Marshall,” Keyser repeated. “They told you that, but wait—hold on—were you the guy that was creeping around my house yesterday?”
Zelinger, who’d written on Facebook that he’d tried to get a comment from Keyser by going to his house, told the Senate hopeful that he did indeed knock on his door.
“Ah, you woke up my kids,” Keyser told him. “Yeah you woke up my kids. My baby cried for an hour after that. Did you—did you get to meet my dog?”
“I met your dog and your nanny. She was very kind,” Zelinger responded.
“My dog, he’s a great dog. He’s bigger than you are,” Keyser said. “He’s huge. He’s a big guy. Very protective.”
“I don’t know what that meant, but okay,” Zelinger said.
Keyser went on to give further details about his dog, a Great Dane, and dodged directly addressing the signatures. Zelinger questioned how the size of the Senate hopeful’s canine companion was relevant to the conversation.
“There are people like you that’ve done the Democrats’ work, that’ve spent hundreds of hours on this,” Keyser argued. “It’s not gonna take away from the fact that I’m on the ballot and I’m gonna beat Michael Bennet.”
The conversation ended after Zelinger asked “Did you know any of the signatures were forged?” Keyser said, “Thank you,” and walked away.
Zelinger’s reporting is just the latest development in a long back-and-forth about Keyser’s ballot petition. Colorado’s secretary of state, citing multiple technicalities, had previously told Keyser that he was around 80 signatures short of meeting the 1,500 names required to get on the ballot. Keyser took the issue to court, though, and those signatures were ruled valid.
Keyser’s campaign didn’t immediately return TPM’s request for comment on Thursday afternoon.
Watch the horribly awkward exchange below: