Maes rejects Tancredo’s offer
Dan Maes rejected former GOP congressman Tom Tancredo’s offer Wednesday to leave the race for Colorado governor.
Tancredo had gone to Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams on Monday to make the offer that Tancredo said he would before last week’s primary: He would drop his bid for governor if Maes did, too.
That way, a third Republican untainted by scandal could be named to run for the seat.
“I asked Tom for the opportunity to present this offer to Dan Maes, which I did do this morning,” Wadhams said in a statement Wednesday. “I felt it was my responsibility as state chairman to inform Dan of this offer since it held open the possibility of eliminating the current three-way race that gives the Democratic candidate a huge advantage.”
Wadhams repeatedly has said that with Tancredo running as the nominee for the American Constitution Party, there is no way either candidate can defeat Democrat John Hickenlooper.
The Maes campaign said there was no question about what Maes planned to do.
“Dick presented an offer made by a minor-party candidate, which Dan, as the unquestioned GOP nominee, flatly rejected,” campaign spokesman Nate Strauch said. “If Tom wants to affect the governor’s race, he needs to go through the proper nominating process. Dan Maes has rejected this culture of back-room deals from the start, and he certainly won’t be changing that philosophy for a third-party candidate.”
Tancredo jumped into the race last month after Maes battled campaign-finance problems, and his primary challenger, Scott McInnis, dealt with plagiarism issues. Tancredo said neither could win in November as a result.
Since the Aug. 11 primary that gave Maes a narrow victory, Republican backing of him has been slow in coming.
Two days after the election, two well-known Republicans, former Colorado Senate President John Andrews and current GOP national committee member Mark Hillman, came out in support of Maes.
It took until this week, however, for more prominent Republicans to back him: former U.S. Sens. Wayne Allard and Hank Brown endorsed him Monday, while U.S. Reps. Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman came out on Tuesday.
Historically, it doesn’t take days after a primary for party members to back their nominee.
Until those six people came into his camp, the biggest names Maes could tout were some of the most conservative members of the Legislature: Sens. David Schultheis of Colorado Springs and Kevin Lundberg of Berthoud, and Rep. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs.