Club 20: Tancredo welcome in audience, but won’t be debating

Tom Tancredo, shown during a television interview in Denver.

Tom Tancredo, the American Constitution Party candidate for governor, is welcome at the Club 20 gubernatorial debate Saturday.

He can sit in the audience with everyone else.

Club 20’s executive board considered Tancredo’s request to join in the debate between Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Dan Maes, the Democratic and Republican candidates, respectively, to succeed Gov. Bill Ritter, who chose not to seek re-election.

In the end, no one wanted to relax Club 20’s standard for participation in the debate, Club 20 Executive Director Reeves Brown said.

Tancredo asked that he be allowed to debate because “my participation will no doubt be viewed favorably by the many Club 20 members who are not inclined to vote for either a tax-and-spend liberal or an ethically challenged political accident.”

Club 20 should set a standard based on public support instead of party affiliation, Tancredo wrote to Brown, citing the “truly unconventional nature of this year’s governor’s race.”

Sadly, by that standard, Tancredo still straggles in third, Brown said, noting recent polls put Tancredo behind Maes, who trails Hickenlooper.

Two Libertarian Party candidates, Stephen Saint, who is on the ballot for Mesa County Commissioner, and Gregory Gilman, who is running for the 3rd Congressional District, also are barred from the Club 20 debates because their party failed to collect 1 percent of the vote in the last election for the posts they are seeking.

As for Tancredo, “I hope he comes,” Brown said. “Grand Junction is the place to be in Colorado this weekend.”

The Club 20 debates at Two Rivers Convention Center will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday with a speech by Ritter.

From there, the schedule is as follows:

8:40 a.m. — House District 56 debate between Democrat Christine Scanlan and Republican Debra Irvine.

9:10 a.m. —  House District 57 debate between Republican Randy Baumgardner and Democrat Steve Ivancie.

10 a.m. — Senate District 6 debate between Democrat Bruce Whitehead and Republican Ellen Roberts.

10:30 a.m. — House District 58 debate between Republican Don Coram and Democrat Wes Perrin.

11 a.m. — House District 59 debate between Republican J. Paul Brown and Democrat Brian O’Donnell.

Noon — Amy Walter, political news director for ABC News, will deliver the keynote luncheon address.

1 p.m. — Amendments 60 and 61 and Prop. 101, all aimed at tax reductions, are scheduled to be debated. Speakers to be determined.

1:30 p.m. — Senate District 5 debate between Democrat Gail Schwartz and Republican Bob Rankin.

2:15 p.m. — House District 61 debate among unaffiliated candidate Kathleen Curry, Democrat Roger Wilson and Republican Luke Korkowski. Club 20 rules allow Curry, a former Democrat, to participate because she is the incumbent.

3 p.m. — Senate 7 District debate between Republican Steve King and Democrat Claudette Konola.

6 p.m. — 3rd Congressional District debate between Democrat John Salazar and Republican Scott Tipton.

7 p.m. — Gubernatorial candidate debate between Democrat John Hickenlooper and Republican Dan Maes.

8 p.m. — U.S. Senate debate between Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Ken Buck.

Admission fees will be charged for debates. Admission to the morning and afternoon debates is $35 per session or $10 per debate. Admission to all three evening debates is $10 for all.

More information is available at


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