Maes wins by razor-thin margin

It was too close to call most of the evening, but by the early morning hours today Dan Maes was on his way to a squeaker victory over Scott McInnis in the GOP primary for governor.

Most of the evening Maes and McInnis were deadlocked with each pulling in half the Republican votes, but as the hour neared midnight, Maes had edged ahead by approximately 1 percentage point.

Still, the race was too close to call and could lead to a recount.

By law, a recount is automatic if the difference is within half a percentage point, but the opposing candidate can request one at no cost to its campaign if the difference stretched to a full percentage point. If Maes finishes with a lead larger than 1 percentage point, the McInnis camp would have to decide whether it wants to pay for a recount, the cost of which was undetermined.

Regardless of the winner, the pressure quickly will mount to get the winning candidate to drop out in favor of a third, yet unnamed Republican, which the Denver Post is reporting could be RE/MAX founder Dave Liniger, who briefly flirted with a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2004.

If that doesn’t happen, though, third-party candidate Tom Tancredo has promised to remain a spoiler for the GOP, which even Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams has said will guarantee that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper will replace Bill Ritter in the governor’s mansion.

The five-term Republican congressman from the 6th Congressional District left the party last month to become the nominee for the American Constitution Party. Tancredo said he did so to force the issue by taking away supporters and campaign donations, saying Maes and McInnis were so tainted by their respective scandals that they no longer were viable candidates.

McInnis lost support after admitting to plagiarizing material he wrote with the aid of a researcher for the Pueblo-based Hasan Family Foundation. Maes has been hit with numerous campaign-finance-reporting violations, including having to pay a $17,500 fine, the largest in the state’s history.

Tancredo said he hopes to win enough support among Republican voters to convince either man that he can’t win the general election in November.

He said if they quit the race and the party names a third candidate that he thinks can defeat Hickenlooper, he will drop out, too.

Though Maes held only a slight lead, voters wouldn’t know it based on results in Mesa, Delta and Garfield counties. In those counties, McInnis, a Grand Junction resident and Glenwood Springs native was winning by wide margins, nearly 13,000 to 5,000 votes in Mesa County, 3,250-1,270 in Garfield, and 3,200-1,700 in Delta.

The fourth candidate in the race will be Jaimes Brown, who easily defeated Dan Sallis 63 percent to 37 percent to win the Libertarian Party nomination.


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