UPDATE: Via 9NEWS' Brandon Rittiman, excuses from frontrunners Scott Gessler and Tom Tancredo:
While both Gessler and Tancredo cited GOP infighting as a justification for their planned absence, they also both left open the possibility of debating fellow Republicans if and when the list of contenders shrinks.
"I won't rule it out," Gessler said. "If the field narrowed to people who truly have a the opportunity to win this."
"I'd contemplate it," Tancredo told 9NEWS, who also listed the organizer of Tuesday's debate as a reason to skip it. "The Denver Post is not our friend. They're not doing this to help the Republican candidates."
When asked about the idea that the debate could be a help to Republican voters, Tancredo said "Republicans generally know who I am and what I'm about."
Image by Mike Kopp for Governor via Lynn Bartels
Despite the fact that the two leading candidates in the 2014 GOP gubernatorial primary, Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former Congressman Tom Tancredo, have opted out of debates with their lesser opponents, a live debate featuring the other four candidates will go ahead as scheduled tonight at 6:30PM. The debate will be streamed by the Denver Post, and seating is likely to be plentiful at the Post Auditorium at 101 W. Colfax.
The biggest reason we'll be watching is to see if one of the lesser candidates participating, Greg Brophy, Mike Kopp, Steve House, and Jason Clark, pull anything dramatic to differentiate themselves in what looks to become a two-man race in all but name very soon. For Brophy and Kopp in particular, tonight's forum may be their last, best shot at relevance ahead of the Republican precinct caucuses on March 4th.
Watch this space for updates as they happen and from the event this evening.