Greg Lopez governor

In this file photo, Republican Greg Lopez speaks on the steps of the Colorado Capitol in Denver at a Dec. 7, 2019, rally opposed to Colorado's red flag law, which allows judges to seize firearms from people deemed at risk to themselves or others. Lopez, the third-place finisher in Colorado's 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary, plans to make it official on March 4, 2021, that he's running for governor again in 2022.

Republican Greg Lopez plans to kick off his second run for governor Thursday in Parker, the Douglas County town where he served a term more than two decades ago as the growing suburb's youngest mayor.

Lopez finished third in the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary and has been running for more than a year for the 2022 GOP nomination to take on Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, who has yet to draw a prominent Republican challenger.

“I believe together we can make life better, richer and fuller for all Coloradans," Lopez said in a campaign email. "I believe that Colorado is a state where opportunity abounds, and personal responsibility and achievement are rewarded. Let me be clear: Change is coming, and you and I are going to make it happen — together!"

The Air Force veteran was elected mayor of Parker in 1992 at age 27 and served a four-year term, simultaneously holding the position of town manager. In 2004, he was president and CEO of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He was named Colorado director of the Small Business Administration in 2008 and stayed in the post until 2014. Lopez and his wife, Lisa, live in Elizabeth and own a small restaurant and bar in Aurora. They also operate a business consulting firm.

Lopez plans to launch his 2022 campaign formally in front of Parker's town hall with the help of current mayor Jeff Toborg and former mayor David Casiano. The outdoor event is at 4 p.m. and will be followed by a private reception.

During his 2018 campaign for governor, Lopez talked about attracting Hispanic voters to the Republican ticket and his background helping manage Parker's explosive growth during his term in office in the 1990s, when the town doubled in size.

This time, he talks about transportation and affordable housing while also stressing conservative issues.

"I believe in school choice, less regulation, protecting the 2nd Amendment, free-market health care, constitutionalist judges, less spending and smaller government through (the) Tax Payers Bill of Rights — TABOR — enforcing our laws and protecting our (borders), 'legal' immigration not 'illegal immigration,'" he says on his campaign website below a declaration in all-caps that he's "PRO-LIFE."

Lopez eked his way onto the 2018 primary ballot, clearing the required 30% threshold with 33% of the delegate vote in a crowded field at the state GOP assembly the same day then-State Treasurer Walker Stapleton won top-line on the ballot with the support of 44% of delegates.

They faced two businessmen who petitioned their way into the primary, former state Rep. Victor Mitchell — who mostly self-financed his campaign to the tune of about $5 million — and Doug Robinson, a nephew of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney. Stapleton, who lost to Polis in the general election, won the primary with about 48% of the vote, followed by Mitchell at about 30%, with Lopez' 13% and Robinson's 9% bringing up the rear.

Not including Polis, who has yet to make his re-election bid official, 10 candidates have filed paperwork to run for governor next year — eight Republicans, one Democrat and an unaffiliated hopeful — but only Lopez has reported any fundraising or campaign activity, though he hasn't raised much in the nearly year and a half since establishing his committee on Aug. 22, 2019.

Through Dec. 31, 2020, Lopez reported raising about $12,500 and spent just over $9,700, leaving about $2,800 on hand.

As in his 2018 campaign, Lopez appears to be running a lean operation.

According to documents on file with the Colorado Secretary of State's office, Lopez has spent about $5,000 on advertising and most of the rest on travel expenses, including about $1,000 on rental cars, with lodging in Cortez, La Junta, Lamar and Silver Spring, Maryland.

In a campaign video posted to his website, Lopez lays out the stakes of the next election.

"Do you want Colorado to continue to become the ugly twin sister of California?" Lopez asks as menacing electronic music plays in the background. "I say no."

Lopez goes on to list a number of alarming assertions about California, including that one-quarter of the nation's homeless live there and that 51% of Californians "support gay marriages."

"Highway workers have to clean up vagrants' used syringes, pounds of feces and numerous buckets of urine," Lopez says.

Both states, he notes, are "controlled by the Democratic Party."

"I say enough. I don't want Colorado to become California," Lopez concludes.

"I want Colorado to stand strong on traditional family values. I want Colorado to have only one state income tax rate of 4.6%. And I want Colorado to adhere to the state constitution when it comes to guns and defending the Second Amendment. I want Colorado to stay in the top 10 states to do business."

WATCH: Republican candidates for Colo. governor debate on 9News

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