Determined Tancredo continues race

Former Republican Tom Tancredo told an audience at a downtown Grand Junction coffee shop that a two-person race for governor “would have been fine with me” had Republicans picked a candidate he could support. “That didn’t work out,” said Tancredo, the former 6th Congressional District representative who heads the ticket of the American Constitution Party.

Tom Tancredo may be the candidate for the little-known American Constitution Party, but the former GOP congressman isn’t necessarily running as one of them.

Instead, the Republican-turned-ACP candidate is running as, well, Tom Tancredo.

With only 1,900 ACP party members registered in the state, can you blame him, Tancredo asked Tuesday, moments before addressing a crowd of about 150 at Main Street Bagels, 559 Main St.

“It’s not as if I made this philosophic transformation that led me to a realization that the Constitution Party was better,” he told The Daily Sentinel before explaining to the crowd why he’s running for governor against Republican Dan Maes and Democrat John Hickenlooper.

Tancredo, in town for a one-day, three-city whirlwind campaign tour of the Western Slope, told the crowd he only entered the fray because the Republican Party had asked too much of him: To support the winner of the August primary that saw Maes defeat former Grand Junction congressman Scott McInnis.

“I understand the difficulty with a three-person race, believe me,” he said inside the bagel shop. “So a two-person race would have been fine with me — two good people, or at least a Republican having a solid chance and somebody I could support. That didn’t work out.”

Tancredo said that while he knows he’s splitting the vote, he was still confident he could win. The former representative of the 6th Congressional District pointed to a new poll that showed him catching up to Hickenlooper. With a 3 percent margin of error, a new Fox News poll had Tancredo leading Maes 34 percent to 15 percent. Hickenlooper was 10 points above that, at 44 percent.

The congressman said his message is starting to resonate with voters. Though his main issue has long been immigration, he said that’s because that topic touches all others.

“You cannot discuss our economy, you cannot discuss jobs, you can’t discuss wage rates or increasing them, you cannot discuss the problems with our hospital systems or the problems with our schools,” he said. “You cannot talk about any of this unless you are willing to talk about immigration, particularly illegal immigration.”

Tancredo also said that if elected governor, he would make Colorado a more business-friendly state, primarily by reducing regulations, and providing as many services to companies that help increase their bottom lines.

He said he favored legalizing marijuana, not because he likes the idea of more people smoking it, but because it would take it out of the hands of criminals and add a new tax base for state and local governments.

Tancredo also said he supported the tax- and fee-cutting ballot measures, Amendment 60 and Proposition 101, but not Amendment 61, which would prohibit state debt.


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